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This page allows you to see all the commentary pages together for this Book of Mormon Gospel Doctrine lesson. Click on the heading to go to a specific page. Click the edit links below to edit text on any pages.


Alma 4-7

Home > The Book of Mormon > Alma > Chapters 4-7

Subpages: Chapter 4 Chapter 5 Chapter 6-7

Previous page: Chapter 3                      Next page: Chapter 4


This page would ideally always be under construction. You are invited to contribute.


Summary[edit]

This heading should be very brief. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Relationship to Alma. The relationship of Chapters 4-7 to the rest of Alma is discussed at Alma.

Story. Chapters 4-7 recount Alma's regulation of the church, including the content of his preaching throughout the land generally and at Gideon in particular (superscriptions to Alma 5 and Alma 7). Chapters 4-7 consists of ___ major sections:

Message. Themes, symbols, and doctrinal points emphasized in Chapters 4-7 include:

Discussion[edit]

This section is for detailed discussion such as the meaning of a symbol, how a doctrinal point is developed throughout a passage, or insights that can be further developed in the future. Contributions may range from polished paragraphs down to a single bullet point. The focus, however, should always be on understanding the scriptural text consistent with LDS doctrine. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Unanswered questions[edit]

This section is for questions along the lines of "I still don't understand ..." Please do not be shy. The point of these questions is to identify things that still need to be addressed on this page. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Prompts for life application[edit]

This section is for prompts that suggest ways in which a passage can influence a person's life. Prompts may be appropriate either for private self reflection or for a class discussion. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Prompts for further study[edit]

This section is for prompts that invite us to think about a passage more deeply or in a new way. These are not necessarily questions that beg for answers, but rather prompts along the lines of "Have you ever thought about ..." Prompts are most helpful when they are developed individually, thoughtfully, and with enough background information to clearly indicate a particular direction for further study or thought. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Resources[edit]

This section is for listing links and print resources, including those that are also cited elsewhere on this page. A short comment about the particular strengths of a resource can be helpful. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Notes[edit]

Footnotes are not required but are encouraged for factual assertions that average readers cannot easily evaluate for themselves (such as the date of King Solomon’s death or the nuanced definition of a Greek word). In contrast, insights rarely benefit from footnoting, and the focus of this page should always remain on the scriptures themselves rather than what someone has said about them. Links are actively encouraged on all sections of this page, and links to authoritative sources (such as Strong's Bible Concordance or the Joseph Smith Papers) are preferable to footnotes.



Previous page: Chapter 3                      Next page: Chapter 4


Alma 5:1-5

Home > The Book of Mormon > Alma > Chapters 4-7 > Chapter 5 > Verses 5:1-13
Previous page: Chapter 5                      Next page: Verses 5:14-32


This page would ideally always be under construction. You are invited to contribute.


Summary[edit]

This heading should be very brief. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Discussion[edit]

This section is for detailed discussion such as the meaning of a symbol, how a doctrinal point is developed throughout a passage, or insights that can be further developed in the future. Contributions may range from polished paragraphs down to a single bullet point. The focus, however, should always be on understanding the scriptural text consistent with LDS doctrine. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • Alma 5:1-5: Establishing an Abinadite Heritage for the Church in Zarahemla. Alma’s audience is the people of Zarahemla, who are a mix of Mulekites and Nephites, most likely with few if any Zeniffites among them. Thus, these are people who were raised in the state religion of Benjamin and Mosiah. They may believe in Christ more because Christianity is the inherited state religion of all who live in the land than because each of them have personally chosen it as individuals. So part of Alma’s rhetorical task is to fully move his audience from the old state religion to a committed, voluntary membership in the church started by his father, Alma. To be sure--as verses 2 and 14 indicate--many if not most of the people listening to Alma are already affiliated to one degree or another with the church founded at the Waters of Mormon. But the identity and authority of that church is apparently not fully established in the minds and hearts of the listeners. Thus, Alma places great emphasis on the restoration through his father and Abinadi while wholly ignoring the restoration through Benjamin. What Alma is doing is analogous to what we do when we tell new converts the story of the First Vision and of the pioneers crossing the plains. We are helping them embrace as their own the narratives that are foundational for the church in our day. Though their ancestors were generally not involved in these stories, the stories become an essential part of their heritage and identity when they become a latter-day saint.
Alma's emphasis on the founding of the church in the land of Nephi and the captivity of his father in the land of Helam is rooted in a very specific charge he received from the angel that visited and first called him to repentence. The last thing the angel said to him was that he should remember the captivity of his fathers (Mosiah 27:16). Alma later begins his sermon to his son Helaman with the same charge he received from the angel and here gives the people of Zarahemla--to remember the captivity of his fathers (Alma 36:1-2). Alma clearly took that angelic message to heart and never tires of sharing it with others.
  • Alma 5:6: Importance of Remembering Our Spiritual Heritage. In this verse, Alma emphasizes the importance of remembering the founding narratives of the faith. Our faith and determination to persist in upholding and building the kingdom is strengthened if we recognize that we have a rich spiritual heritage that is now entrusted to us as a precious legacy that we, in turn, must pass on. Those who have gone before should become our models as we strive to be faithful in our day. And our example, in turn, should become a foundation for the faith of those who follow us. This focus on what we inherit from those who have gone before and what we pass on to those who follow us finds its highest expression in the sealing ceremonies of the temple, where priesthood power binds the generations together in multigenerational eternal families. We are strengthened in our faith that we can follow Christ if we know that our ancestors have already followed him. What they have done, we too can do. And we are strengthened in our determination to be true to our covenants when we anticipate, as Abraham did, that our righteousness can benefit our decendants for many generations yet to come.
This call to faith is made more powerful by the repetition of the phrase "have you sufficiently retained in remembrance." As is true throughout this sermon, the second person "you" adds greatly to the force of the rhetoric by drawing us in and making us the audience. We must remember Alma the Elder and Abinadi, for they are our spiritual ancestors just as they were spiritual ancestors of these Mulekites who, like us, were not related by blood to Alma the Elder or Abinadi.
  • Alma 5:7: Personally Relevant Metaphors. The metaphors Alma uses in this verse may have had special resonance for his father and him. Alma the Elder, a priest in King Noah's court, was spiritually asleep until Abinadi awakened him from his dogmatic slumbers. Later in the city of Helam when he and his people were captives of the Lamanites and Amulon, the chief of Noah's priests who was their most bitter enemy, this metaphor took literal effect as Alma and his people literally awoke and escaped from Helam while Amulon and the Lamanites literally remained in a deep sleep. The righteous are awake and see the light while the wicked are in darkness, as if spiritually asleep, inert, dead.
For Alma the younger, the metaphors of darkness, bands of death, and chains of hell recall the experience he recounts in Mosiah 27:10-31 and Alma 36:1-30 of being in hell until he remembers his father's teaching of Christ and is born again unto the light.
  • Alma 5:8-9: Artful and Effective Rhetoric. Alma uses repetition and balance to make his words memorable and intelligible. The arrangment below partially highlights the pattern:
And now I ask of you, my brethren, [were they destroyed]?
Behold, (I say unto you), Nay, they were not.
And again I ask, were the bands of death broken, and the chains of hell which encircled them about, were they loosed?
(I say unto you), Yea, they were loosed, and their souls did expand, and they did sing redeeming love.
And (I say unto you) that [they are saved].
  • Alma 5:10: More Effective Rhetoric and THE QUESTION. In this verse, Alma heightens the emotional intensity and urgency of his words by repeating in rapid succession a series of short questions.
  • And now I ask of you on what conditions are they saved?
  • Yea, what grounds had they to hope for salvation?
  • What is the cause of their being loosed from the bands of death, yea, and also the chains of hell?
The critically important question, What grounds had they to hope for salvation? is the basis of Alma's sermon. How could these men know they were saved? Was their rejoicing in vain? Is there a test that we can use to determine if we are saved? The answer is found in the following three verses.
  • Alma 5:11-13: THE ANSWER. A mighty change. These verses answer the question posed in verse 10: how can we trust that we have been saved? Alma the younger uses his father's experience as proof that salvation is real and measurable.
  • First, Alma believed -- He heard the true words of a prophet of God, and was stirred to action. He exercised faith in the message.
  • Second, Alma's heart changed -- As he tried the word (see Alma 32:28), he experienced God first-hand and became a different man because of it.
  • Finally, Alma's message changed others -- As Alma preached what he had learned, the same mighty change took place in everyone that put faith in it.
This equation has been reduced to its basic components. The fruits of the spirit (humility, faith) are a potent indicator that the message is good (see verse 40), and those that put their trust in it have a real reason to hope for salvation.
These verses also succinctly and powerfully summarize the spiritual heritage of these people, a heritage all members of the church, then and now share: Abinadi's testimony and martyrdom, Alma’s conversion and ministry. The conversion and salvation of these, our spiritual progenitors bears and implicit message: it is our heritage to be likewise saved.
  • Alma 5:13: Figurative Fathers. As noted in the overview for this chapter, most if not all of the people in the land of Zarahemla have no blood relationship with Zeniff and his followers, a group who left Zarahemla, went back to the land of Nephi, learned hard lessons, then returned and settled in the land of Gideon. The literal descendants of the Zeniffites in the land of Gideon will receive their sermon, a sermon adapted to their great faithfuness, in chapter 7. So when Alma says "he [Abinadi or Alma the Elder, it's ambiguous] preached the word unto your fathers," the fathers must be metaphorical fathers of the restoration these people have been adopted into, not literal fathers.

Unanswered questions[edit]

This section is for questions along the lines of "I still don't understand ..." Please do not be shy. The point of these questions is to identify things that still need to be addressed on this page. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Prompts for life application[edit]

This section is for prompts that suggest ways in which a passage can influence a person's life. Prompts may be appropriate either for private self reflection or for a class discussion. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Prompts for further study[edit]

This section is for prompts that invite us to think about a passage more deeply or in a new way. These are not necessarily questions that beg for answers, but rather prompts along the lines of "Have you ever thought about ..." Prompts are most helpful when they are developed individually, thoughtfully, and with enough background information to clearly indicate a particular direction for further study or thought. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • Alma 5:1-7: Alma begins as he seems to begin each of his sermons, with a reference to the type of bondage and deliverance. (Verse 6 captures both parts of the type: have you remembered the captivity of your fathers and their deliverance?) Sometimes the specific instance of that type is Moses and Israel in Egypt. In this case it is Noah and the people of Nephi. Why do you think the type, bondage and deliverance, has such power for Alma the Younger? Is it or ought it to be an important type for us?
  • Alma 5:6: Is there a difference between "my brethren" and "you that belong to this church"?
  • Alma 5:6: What does it mean to "sufficiently" retain in remembrance? Is there a minimum standard or level at which the things Alma speaks about must be remembered?
  • Alma 5:6: Why is it important for the Nephites to remember "the captivity of your fathers"? Which captivity is this? Egypt? Land of Helam? Land of Nephi?
  • Alma 5:6: What is the value of remembrance here? What is specifically to be remembered? How is this remembrance to take place? Is it just a mental remembrance, or something else?
  • Alma 5:6: What does it mean to remember?
  • Alma 5:6: What is it about the Lord's "mercy and long-suffering" that the Nephites are to remember? Do we need to remember the same thing?
  • Alma 5:6: What does it mean to have your soul delivered from hell? Is this something that happens in this life? How does it require faith to see this deliverance?
  • Alma 5:6: In our Latter-day discussions, we don't talk much about hell. What is the hell that Alma is referring to here?
  • Alma 5:7: What does changing hearts or awakening from a deep sleep have to do with having a soul delivered from hell (vs. 6)?
  • Alma 5:7: How is it that the Lord can change a heart? How does this happen? What does a person have to do in order for the Lord to change his or her heart?
  • Alma 5:7: What is the deep sleep that Alma is talking about here? How is one awoken from this deep sleep?
  • Alma 5:7: What does it mean to awake unto God?
  • Alma 5:7: What does it mean to be "in the midst of darkness"?
  • Alma 5:7: What is "the light of the everlasting word"? How does it illuminate souls?
  • Alma 5:7: What are the bands of death? Are they the same as the "chains of hell"? How does one become "encircled about" by these bands?
  • Alma 5:7: What is "everlasting destruction"?
  • Alma 5:8: Why weren't the people destroyed?
  • Alma 5:8: Why is Alma asking so many questions here?
  • Alma 5:8: Why does Alma say "and now I ask of you"?
  • Alma 5:8: Why does Alma answer his own questions? How effective is this rhetorically?
  • Alma 5:9: How are "bands of death broken"? Is this the same thing as loosening the chains of hell? What does it mean to have these things broken or loosed?
  • Alma 5:9: What does breaking bands and loosening chains have to do with souls expanding?
  • Alma 5:9: What does it mean for a soul to expand?
  • Alma 5:9: What does it mean to "sing redeeming love"?
  • Alma 5:9: What does expanding souls and singing redeeming love have to do with being saved? What does Alma mean here by being saved?
  • Alma 5:10: What is mean by "conditions" of salvation?
  • Alma 5:10: What is the difference between being saved and having grounds for hope for salvation?
  • Alma 5:10: What does it mean to "hope for salvation"? Is this hope enough to loosen the bands of death or chains of hell? What is the connection between having a hope for salvation and having the bands of death or chains of hell loosened?
  • Alma 5:11: Alma announces his theme, the conditions of salvation. Compare this sermon to King Benjamin’s sermon in Mosiah 4. How are they different? How the same?
  • Alma 5:11: To what cause of salvation does Alma first refer? Why is that particular cause so important? What does it mean to him? to us?
  • Alma 5:11: What does it mean for the words to be delivered "by the mouth of Abinadi"? Were these words read? Recited? What does it mean for them to be delivered?
  • Alma 5:11: Why does Alma call Abinadi a "holy prophet" rather than just a prophet? Why the emphasis on holy?
  • Alma 5:11: What is meant here by speaking the words of God?
  • Alma 5:11: What does it mean that Alma believed the words of God?
  • Alma 5:12: Verse 11 tells us that Alma the Elder heard and believed the words of Abinadi. What does this verse describe as the result? Why does Alma II say that the mighty change was something that happened to his father, Alma I, rather than something that he did?
  • Alma 5:12: What is the relationship between belief (vs 11) and faith? Is it the same? If faith is a gift from God, what does it mean for Alma to "have" faith? Is it appropriate to talk of Alma "having" faith, or is there some other way we should describe this?
  • Alma 5:12: How does faith lead to "a mighty change" of heart?
  • Alma 5:12: What do we have to do to get this mighty change as well?
  • Alma 5:13: Why is it enough to say that the people “humbled themselves and put their trust in the true and living God” and that they “were faithful until the end” to explain their salvation? Why doesn’t Alma include such things as baptism and the Gift of the Holy Ghost or keeping the commandments in his description of salvation?
  • Alma 5:13: What does it mean for the change of heart to be mighty? For it to be wrought?
  • Alma 5:13: What does it mean that they "humbled themselves"? Is this something that we have to do for our selves, or does God somehow make it possible?
  • Alma 5:13: What does it mean that they "put their trust" in God?
  • Alma 5:13: What is meant by referring to God as "true and living"?
  • Alma 5:13: What does it mean that "they were faithful until the end"? What constitutes being faithful? What does "until the end" mean? Is that just to the end of their lives, or does it mean something else?

Resources[edit]

This section is for listing links and print resources, including those that are also cited elsewhere on this page. A short comment about the particular strengths of a resource can be helpful. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Notes[edit]

Footnotes are not required but are encouraged for factual assertions that average readers cannot easily evaluate for themselves (such as the date of King Solomon’s death or the nuanced definition of a Greek word). In contrast, insights rarely benefit from footnoting, and the focus of this page should always remain on the scriptures themselves rather than what someone has said about them. Links are actively encouraged on all sections of this page, and links to authoritative sources (such as Strong's Bible Concordance or the Joseph Smith Papers) are preferable to footnotes.



Previous page: Chapter 5                      Next page: Verses 5:14-32

Alma 5:6-10

Home > The Book of Mormon > Alma > Chapters 4-7 > Chapter 5 > Verses 5:1-13
Previous page: Chapter 5                      Next page: Verses 5:14-32


This page would ideally always be under construction. You are invited to contribute.


Summary[edit]

This heading should be very brief. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Discussion[edit]

This section is for detailed discussion such as the meaning of a symbol, how a doctrinal point is developed throughout a passage, or insights that can be further developed in the future. Contributions may range from polished paragraphs down to a single bullet point. The focus, however, should always be on understanding the scriptural text consistent with LDS doctrine. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • Alma 5:1-5: Establishing an Abinadite Heritage for the Church in Zarahemla. Alma’s audience is the people of Zarahemla, who are a mix of Mulekites and Nephites, most likely with few if any Zeniffites among them. Thus, these are people who were raised in the state religion of Benjamin and Mosiah. They may believe in Christ more because Christianity is the inherited state religion of all who live in the land than because each of them have personally chosen it as individuals. So part of Alma’s rhetorical task is to fully move his audience from the old state religion to a committed, voluntary membership in the church started by his father, Alma. To be sure--as verses 2 and 14 indicate--many if not most of the people listening to Alma are already affiliated to one degree or another with the church founded at the Waters of Mormon. But the identity and authority of that church is apparently not fully established in the minds and hearts of the listeners. Thus, Alma places great emphasis on the restoration through his father and Abinadi while wholly ignoring the restoration through Benjamin. What Alma is doing is analogous to what we do when we tell new converts the story of the First Vision and of the pioneers crossing the plains. We are helping them embrace as their own the narratives that are foundational for the church in our day. Though their ancestors were generally not involved in these stories, the stories become an essential part of their heritage and identity when they become a latter-day saint.
Alma's emphasis on the founding of the church in the land of Nephi and the captivity of his father in the land of Helam is rooted in a very specific charge he received from the angel that visited and first called him to repentence. The last thing the angel said to him was that he should remember the captivity of his fathers (Mosiah 27:16). Alma later begins his sermon to his son Helaman with the same charge he received from the angel and here gives the people of Zarahemla--to remember the captivity of his fathers (Alma 36:1-2). Alma clearly took that angelic message to heart and never tires of sharing it with others.
  • Alma 5:6: Importance of Remembering Our Spiritual Heritage. In this verse, Alma emphasizes the importance of remembering the founding narratives of the faith. Our faith and determination to persist in upholding and building the kingdom is strengthened if we recognize that we have a rich spiritual heritage that is now entrusted to us as a precious legacy that we, in turn, must pass on. Those who have gone before should become our models as we strive to be faithful in our day. And our example, in turn, should become a foundation for the faith of those who follow us. This focus on what we inherit from those who have gone before and what we pass on to those who follow us finds its highest expression in the sealing ceremonies of the temple, where priesthood power binds the generations together in multigenerational eternal families. We are strengthened in our faith that we can follow Christ if we know that our ancestors have already followed him. What they have done, we too can do. And we are strengthened in our determination to be true to our covenants when we anticipate, as Abraham did, that our righteousness can benefit our decendants for many generations yet to come.
This call to faith is made more powerful by the repetition of the phrase "have you sufficiently retained in remembrance." As is true throughout this sermon, the second person "you" adds greatly to the force of the rhetoric by drawing us in and making us the audience. We must remember Alma the Elder and Abinadi, for they are our spiritual ancestors just as they were spiritual ancestors of these Mulekites who, like us, were not related by blood to Alma the Elder or Abinadi.
  • Alma 5:7: Personally Relevant Metaphors. The metaphors Alma uses in this verse may have had special resonance for his father and him. Alma the Elder, a priest in King Noah's court, was spiritually asleep until Abinadi awakened him from his dogmatic slumbers. Later in the city of Helam when he and his people were captives of the Lamanites and Amulon, the chief of Noah's priests who was their most bitter enemy, this metaphor took literal effect as Alma and his people literally awoke and escaped from Helam while Amulon and the Lamanites literally remained in a deep sleep. The righteous are awake and see the light while the wicked are in darkness, as if spiritually asleep, inert, dead.
For Alma the younger, the metaphors of darkness, bands of death, and chains of hell recall the experience he recounts in Mosiah 27:10-31 and Alma 36:1-30 of being in hell until he remembers his father's teaching of Christ and is born again unto the light.
  • Alma 5:8-9: Artful and Effective Rhetoric. Alma uses repetition and balance to make his words memorable and intelligible. The arrangment below partially highlights the pattern:
And now I ask of you, my brethren, [were they destroyed]?
Behold, (I say unto you), Nay, they were not.
And again I ask, were the bands of death broken, and the chains of hell which encircled them about, were they loosed?
(I say unto you), Yea, they were loosed, and their souls did expand, and they did sing redeeming love.
And (I say unto you) that [they are saved].
  • Alma 5:10: More Effective Rhetoric and THE QUESTION. In this verse, Alma heightens the emotional intensity and urgency of his words by repeating in rapid succession a series of short questions.
  • And now I ask of you on what conditions are they saved?
  • Yea, what grounds had they to hope for salvation?
  • What is the cause of their being loosed from the bands of death, yea, and also the chains of hell?
The critically important question, What grounds had they to hope for salvation? is the basis of Alma's sermon. How could these men know they were saved? Was their rejoicing in vain? Is there a test that we can use to determine if we are saved? The answer is found in the following three verses.
  • Alma 5:11-13: THE ANSWER. A mighty change. These verses answer the question posed in verse 10: how can we trust that we have been saved? Alma the younger uses his father's experience as proof that salvation is real and measurable.
  • First, Alma believed -- He heard the true words of a prophet of God, and was stirred to action. He exercised faith in the message.
  • Second, Alma's heart changed -- As he tried the word (see Alma 32:28), he experienced God first-hand and became a different man because of it.
  • Finally, Alma's message changed others -- As Alma preached what he had learned, the same mighty change took place in everyone that put faith in it.
This equation has been reduced to its basic components. The fruits of the spirit (humility, faith) are a potent indicator that the message is good (see verse 40), and those that put their trust in it have a real reason to hope for salvation.
These verses also succinctly and powerfully summarize the spiritual heritage of these people, a heritage all members of the church, then and now share: Abinadi's testimony and martyrdom, Alma’s conversion and ministry. The conversion and salvation of these, our spiritual progenitors bears and implicit message: it is our heritage to be likewise saved.
  • Alma 5:13: Figurative Fathers. As noted in the overview for this chapter, most if not all of the people in the land of Zarahemla have no blood relationship with Zeniff and his followers, a group who left Zarahemla, went back to the land of Nephi, learned hard lessons, then returned and settled in the land of Gideon. The literal descendants of the Zeniffites in the land of Gideon will receive their sermon, a sermon adapted to their great faithfuness, in chapter 7. So when Alma says "he [Abinadi or Alma the Elder, it's ambiguous] preached the word unto your fathers," the fathers must be metaphorical fathers of the restoration these people have been adopted into, not literal fathers.

Unanswered questions[edit]

This section is for questions along the lines of "I still don't understand ..." Please do not be shy. The point of these questions is to identify things that still need to be addressed on this page. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Prompts for life application[edit]

This section is for prompts that suggest ways in which a passage can influence a person's life. Prompts may be appropriate either for private self reflection or for a class discussion. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Prompts for further study[edit]

This section is for prompts that invite us to think about a passage more deeply or in a new way. These are not necessarily questions that beg for answers, but rather prompts along the lines of "Have you ever thought about ..." Prompts are most helpful when they are developed individually, thoughtfully, and with enough background information to clearly indicate a particular direction for further study or thought. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • Alma 5:1-7: Alma begins as he seems to begin each of his sermons, with a reference to the type of bondage and deliverance. (Verse 6 captures both parts of the type: have you remembered the captivity of your fathers and their deliverance?) Sometimes the specific instance of that type is Moses and Israel in Egypt. In this case it is Noah and the people of Nephi. Why do you think the type, bondage and deliverance, has such power for Alma the Younger? Is it or ought it to be an important type for us?
  • Alma 5:6: Is there a difference between "my brethren" and "you that belong to this church"?
  • Alma 5:6: What does it mean to "sufficiently" retain in remembrance? Is there a minimum standard or level at which the things Alma speaks about must be remembered?
  • Alma 5:6: Why is it important for the Nephites to remember "the captivity of your fathers"? Which captivity is this? Egypt? Land of Helam? Land of Nephi?
  • Alma 5:6: What is the value of remembrance here? What is specifically to be remembered? How is this remembrance to take place? Is it just a mental remembrance, or something else?
  • Alma 5:6: What does it mean to remember?
  • Alma 5:6: What is it about the Lord's "mercy and long-suffering" that the Nephites are to remember? Do we need to remember the same thing?
  • Alma 5:6: What does it mean to have your soul delivered from hell? Is this something that happens in this life? How does it require faith to see this deliverance?
  • Alma 5:6: In our Latter-day discussions, we don't talk much about hell. What is the hell that Alma is referring to here?
  • Alma 5:7: What does changing hearts or awakening from a deep sleep have to do with having a soul delivered from hell (vs. 6)?
  • Alma 5:7: How is it that the Lord can change a heart? How does this happen? What does a person have to do in order for the Lord to change his or her heart?
  • Alma 5:7: What is the deep sleep that Alma is talking about here? How is one awoken from this deep sleep?
  • Alma 5:7: What does it mean to awake unto God?
  • Alma 5:7: What does it mean to be "in the midst of darkness"?
  • Alma 5:7: What is "the light of the everlasting word"? How does it illuminate souls?
  • Alma 5:7: What are the bands of death? Are they the same as the "chains of hell"? How does one become "encircled about" by these bands?
  • Alma 5:7: What is "everlasting destruction"?
  • Alma 5:8: Why weren't the people destroyed?
  • Alma 5:8: Why is Alma asking so many questions here?
  • Alma 5:8: Why does Alma say "and now I ask of you"?
  • Alma 5:8: Why does Alma answer his own questions? How effective is this rhetorically?
  • Alma 5:9: How are "bands of death broken"? Is this the same thing as loosening the chains of hell? What does it mean to have these things broken or loosed?
  • Alma 5:9: What does breaking bands and loosening chains have to do with souls expanding?
  • Alma 5:9: What does it mean for a soul to expand?
  • Alma 5:9: What does it mean to "sing redeeming love"?
  • Alma 5:9: What does expanding souls and singing redeeming love have to do with being saved? What does Alma mean here by being saved?
  • Alma 5:10: What is mean by "conditions" of salvation?
  • Alma 5:10: What is the difference between being saved and having grounds for hope for salvation?
  • Alma 5:10: What does it mean to "hope for salvation"? Is this hope enough to loosen the bands of death or chains of hell? What is the connection between having a hope for salvation and having the bands of death or chains of hell loosened?
  • Alma 5:11: Alma announces his theme, the conditions of salvation. Compare this sermon to King Benjamin’s sermon in Mosiah 4. How are they different? How the same?
  • Alma 5:11: To what cause of salvation does Alma first refer? Why is that particular cause so important? What does it mean to him? to us?
  • Alma 5:11: What does it mean for the words to be delivered "by the mouth of Abinadi"? Were these words read? Recited? What does it mean for them to be delivered?
  • Alma 5:11: Why does Alma call Abinadi a "holy prophet" rather than just a prophet? Why the emphasis on holy?
  • Alma 5:11: What is meant here by speaking the words of God?
  • Alma 5:11: What does it mean that Alma believed the words of God?
  • Alma 5:12: Verse 11 tells us that Alma the Elder heard and believed the words of Abinadi. What does this verse describe as the result? Why does Alma II say that the mighty change was something that happened to his father, Alma I, rather than something that he did?
  • Alma 5:12: What is the relationship between belief (vs 11) and faith? Is it the same? If faith is a gift from God, what does it mean for Alma to "have" faith? Is it appropriate to talk of Alma "having" faith, or is there some other way we should describe this?
  • Alma 5:12: How does faith lead to "a mighty change" of heart?
  • Alma 5:12: What do we have to do to get this mighty change as well?
  • Alma 5:13: Why is it enough to say that the people “humbled themselves and put their trust in the true and living God” and that they “were faithful until the end” to explain their salvation? Why doesn’t Alma include such things as baptism and the Gift of the Holy Ghost or keeping the commandments in his description of salvation?
  • Alma 5:13: What does it mean for the change of heart to be mighty? For it to be wrought?
  • Alma 5:13: What does it mean that they "humbled themselves"? Is this something that we have to do for our selves, or does God somehow make it possible?
  • Alma 5:13: What does it mean that they "put their trust" in God?
  • Alma 5:13: What is meant by referring to God as "true and living"?
  • Alma 5:13: What does it mean that "they were faithful until the end"? What constitutes being faithful? What does "until the end" mean? Is that just to the end of their lives, or does it mean something else?

Resources[edit]

This section is for listing links and print resources, including those that are also cited elsewhere on this page. A short comment about the particular strengths of a resource can be helpful. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Notes[edit]

Footnotes are not required but are encouraged for factual assertions that average readers cannot easily evaluate for themselves (such as the date of King Solomon’s death or the nuanced definition of a Greek word). In contrast, insights rarely benefit from footnoting, and the focus of this page should always remain on the scriptures themselves rather than what someone has said about them. Links are actively encouraged on all sections of this page, and links to authoritative sources (such as Strong's Bible Concordance or the Joseph Smith Papers) are preferable to footnotes.



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Alma 5:11-15

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Discussion[edit]

This section is for detailed discussion such as the meaning of a symbol, how a doctrinal point is developed throughout a passage, or insights that can be further developed in the future. Contributions may range from polished paragraphs down to a single bullet point. The focus, however, should always be on understanding the scriptural text consistent with LDS doctrine. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • Alma 5:1-5: Establishing an Abinadite Heritage for the Church in Zarahemla. Alma’s audience is the people of Zarahemla, who are a mix of Mulekites and Nephites, most likely with few if any Zeniffites among them. Thus, these are people who were raised in the state religion of Benjamin and Mosiah. They may believe in Christ more because Christianity is the inherited state religion of all who live in the land than because each of them have personally chosen it as individuals. So part of Alma’s rhetorical task is to fully move his audience from the old state religion to a committed, voluntary membership in the church started by his father, Alma. To be sure--as verses 2 and 14 indicate--many if not most of the people listening to Alma are already affiliated to one degree or another with the church founded at the Waters of Mormon. But the identity and authority of that church is apparently not fully established in the minds and hearts of the listeners. Thus, Alma places great emphasis on the restoration through his father and Abinadi while wholly ignoring the restoration through Benjamin. What Alma is doing is analogous to what we do when we tell new converts the story of the First Vision and of the pioneers crossing the plains. We are helping them embrace as their own the narratives that are foundational for the church in our day. Though their ancestors were generally not involved in these stories, the stories become an essential part of their heritage and identity when they become a latter-day saint.
Alma's emphasis on the founding of the church in the land of Nephi and the captivity of his father in the land of Helam is rooted in a very specific charge he received from the angel that visited and first called him to repentence. The last thing the angel said to him was that he should remember the captivity of his fathers (Mosiah 27:16). Alma later begins his sermon to his son Helaman with the same charge he received from the angel and here gives the people of Zarahemla--to remember the captivity of his fathers (Alma 36:1-2). Alma clearly took that angelic message to heart and never tires of sharing it with others.
  • Alma 5:6: Importance of Remembering Our Spiritual Heritage. In this verse, Alma emphasizes the importance of remembering the founding narratives of the faith. Our faith and determination to persist in upholding and building the kingdom is strengthened if we recognize that we have a rich spiritual heritage that is now entrusted to us as a precious legacy that we, in turn, must pass on. Those who have gone before should become our models as we strive to be faithful in our day. And our example, in turn, should become a foundation for the faith of those who follow us. This focus on what we inherit from those who have gone before and what we pass on to those who follow us finds its highest expression in the sealing ceremonies of the temple, where priesthood power binds the generations together in multigenerational eternal families. We are strengthened in our faith that we can follow Christ if we know that our ancestors have already followed him. What they have done, we too can do. And we are strengthened in our determination to be true to our covenants when we anticipate, as Abraham did, that our righteousness can benefit our decendants for many generations yet to come.
This call to faith is made more powerful by the repetition of the phrase "have you sufficiently retained in remembrance." As is true throughout this sermon, the second person "you" adds greatly to the force of the rhetoric by drawing us in and making us the audience. We must remember Alma the Elder and Abinadi, for they are our spiritual ancestors just as they were spiritual ancestors of these Mulekites who, like us, were not related by blood to Alma the Elder or Abinadi.
  • Alma 5:7: Personally Relevant Metaphors. The metaphors Alma uses in this verse may have had special resonance for his father and him. Alma the Elder, a priest in King Noah's court, was spiritually asleep until Abinadi awakened him from his dogmatic slumbers. Later in the city of Helam when he and his people were captives of the Lamanites and Amulon, the chief of Noah's priests who was their most bitter enemy, this metaphor took literal effect as Alma and his people literally awoke and escaped from Helam while Amulon and the Lamanites literally remained in a deep sleep. The righteous are awake and see the light while the wicked are in darkness, as if spiritually asleep, inert, dead.
For Alma the younger, the metaphors of darkness, bands of death, and chains of hell recall the experience he recounts in Mosiah 27:10-31 and Alma 36:1-30 of being in hell until he remembers his father's teaching of Christ and is born again unto the light.
  • Alma 5:8-9: Artful and Effective Rhetoric. Alma uses repetition and balance to make his words memorable and intelligible. The arrangment below partially highlights the pattern:
And now I ask of you, my brethren, [were they destroyed]?
Behold, (I say unto you), Nay, they were not.
And again I ask, were the bands of death broken, and the chains of hell which encircled them about, were they loosed?
(I say unto you), Yea, they were loosed, and their souls did expand, and they did sing redeeming love.
And (I say unto you) that [they are saved].
  • Alma 5:10: More Effective Rhetoric and THE QUESTION. In this verse, Alma heightens the emotional intensity and urgency of his words by repeating in rapid succession a series of short questions.
  • And now I ask of you on what conditions are they saved?
  • Yea, what grounds had they to hope for salvation?
  • What is the cause of their being loosed from the bands of death, yea, and also the chains of hell?
The critically important question, What grounds had they to hope for salvation? is the basis of Alma's sermon. How could these men know they were saved? Was their rejoicing in vain? Is there a test that we can use to determine if we are saved? The answer is found in the following three verses.
  • Alma 5:11-13: THE ANSWER. A mighty change. These verses answer the question posed in verse 10: how can we trust that we have been saved? Alma the younger uses his father's experience as proof that salvation is real and measurable.
  • First, Alma believed -- He heard the true words of a prophet of God, and was stirred to action. He exercised faith in the message.
  • Second, Alma's heart changed -- As he tried the word (see Alma 32:28), he experienced God first-hand and became a different man because of it.
  • Finally, Alma's message changed others -- As Alma preached what he had learned, the same mighty change took place in everyone that put faith in it.
This equation has been reduced to its basic components. The fruits of the spirit (humility, faith) are a potent indicator that the message is good (see verse 40), and those that put their trust in it have a real reason to hope for salvation.
These verses also succinctly and powerfully summarize the spiritual heritage of these people, a heritage all members of the church, then and now share: Abinadi's testimony and martyrdom, Alma’s conversion and ministry. The conversion and salvation of these, our spiritual progenitors bears and implicit message: it is our heritage to be likewise saved.
  • Alma 5:13: Figurative Fathers. As noted in the overview for this chapter, most if not all of the people in the land of Zarahemla have no blood relationship with Zeniff and his followers, a group who left Zarahemla, went back to the land of Nephi, learned hard lessons, then returned and settled in the land of Gideon. The literal descendants of the Zeniffites in the land of Gideon will receive their sermon, a sermon adapted to their great faithfuness, in chapter 7. So when Alma says "he [Abinadi or Alma the Elder, it's ambiguous] preached the word unto your fathers," the fathers must be metaphorical fathers of the restoration these people have been adopted into, not literal fathers.

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Prompts for further study[edit]

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  • Alma 5:1-7: Alma begins as he seems to begin each of his sermons, with a reference to the type of bondage and deliverance. (Verse 6 captures both parts of the type: have you remembered the captivity of your fathers and their deliverance?) Sometimes the specific instance of that type is Moses and Israel in Egypt. In this case it is Noah and the people of Nephi. Why do you think the type, bondage and deliverance, has such power for Alma the Younger? Is it or ought it to be an important type for us?
  • Alma 5:6: Is there a difference between "my brethren" and "you that belong to this church"?
  • Alma 5:6: What does it mean to "sufficiently" retain in remembrance? Is there a minimum standard or level at which the things Alma speaks about must be remembered?
  • Alma 5:6: Why is it important for the Nephites to remember "the captivity of your fathers"? Which captivity is this? Egypt? Land of Helam? Land of Nephi?
  • Alma 5:6: What is the value of remembrance here? What is specifically to be remembered? How is this remembrance to take place? Is it just a mental remembrance, or something else?
  • Alma 5:6: What does it mean to remember?
  • Alma 5:6: What is it about the Lord's "mercy and long-suffering" that the Nephites are to remember? Do we need to remember the same thing?
  • Alma 5:6: What does it mean to have your soul delivered from hell? Is this something that happens in this life? How does it require faith to see this deliverance?
  • Alma 5:6: In our Latter-day discussions, we don't talk much about hell. What is the hell that Alma is referring to here?
  • Alma 5:7: What does changing hearts or awakening from a deep sleep have to do with having a soul delivered from hell (vs. 6)?
  • Alma 5:7: How is it that the Lord can change a heart? How does this happen? What does a person have to do in order for the Lord to change his or her heart?
  • Alma 5:7: What is the deep sleep that Alma is talking about here? How is one awoken from this deep sleep?
  • Alma 5:7: What does it mean to awake unto God?
  • Alma 5:7: What does it mean to be "in the midst of darkness"?
  • Alma 5:7: What is "the light of the everlasting word"? How does it illuminate souls?
  • Alma 5:7: What are the bands of death? Are they the same as the "chains of hell"? How does one become "encircled about" by these bands?
  • Alma 5:7: What is "everlasting destruction"?
  • Alma 5:8: Why weren't the people destroyed?
  • Alma 5:8: Why is Alma asking so many questions here?
  • Alma 5:8: Why does Alma say "and now I ask of you"?
  • Alma 5:8: Why does Alma answer his own questions? How effective is this rhetorically?
  • Alma 5:9: How are "bands of death broken"? Is this the same thing as loosening the chains of hell? What does it mean to have these things broken or loosed?
  • Alma 5:9: What does breaking bands and loosening chains have to do with souls expanding?
  • Alma 5:9: What does it mean for a soul to expand?
  • Alma 5:9: What does it mean to "sing redeeming love"?
  • Alma 5:9: What does expanding souls and singing redeeming love have to do with being saved? What does Alma mean here by being saved?
  • Alma 5:10: What is mean by "conditions" of salvation?
  • Alma 5:10: What is the difference between being saved and having grounds for hope for salvation?
  • Alma 5:10: What does it mean to "hope for salvation"? Is this hope enough to loosen the bands of death or chains of hell? What is the connection between having a hope for salvation and having the bands of death or chains of hell loosened?
  • Alma 5:11: Alma announces his theme, the conditions of salvation. Compare this sermon to King Benjamin’s sermon in Mosiah 4. How are they different? How the same?
  • Alma 5:11: To what cause of salvation does Alma first refer? Why is that particular cause so important? What does it mean to him? to us?
  • Alma 5:11: What does it mean for the words to be delivered "by the mouth of Abinadi"? Were these words read? Recited? What does it mean for them to be delivered?
  • Alma 5:11: Why does Alma call Abinadi a "holy prophet" rather than just a prophet? Why the emphasis on holy?
  • Alma 5:11: What is meant here by speaking the words of God?
  • Alma 5:11: What does it mean that Alma believed the words of God?
  • Alma 5:12: Verse 11 tells us that Alma the Elder heard and believed the words of Abinadi. What does this verse describe as the result? Why does Alma II say that the mighty change was something that happened to his father, Alma I, rather than something that he did?
  • Alma 5:12: What is the relationship between belief (vs 11) and faith? Is it the same? If faith is a gift from God, what does it mean for Alma to "have" faith? Is it appropriate to talk of Alma "having" faith, or is there some other way we should describe this?
  • Alma 5:12: How does faith lead to "a mighty change" of heart?
  • Alma 5:12: What do we have to do to get this mighty change as well?
  • Alma 5:13: Why is it enough to say that the people “humbled themselves and put their trust in the true and living God” and that they “were faithful until the end” to explain their salvation? Why doesn’t Alma include such things as baptism and the Gift of the Holy Ghost or keeping the commandments in his description of salvation?
  • Alma 5:13: What does it mean for the change of heart to be mighty? For it to be wrought?
  • Alma 5:13: What does it mean that they "humbled themselves"? Is this something that we have to do for our selves, or does God somehow make it possible?
  • Alma 5:13: What does it mean that they "put their trust" in God?
  • Alma 5:13: What is meant by referring to God as "true and living"?
  • Alma 5:13: What does it mean that "they were faithful until the end"? What constitutes being faithful? What does "until the end" mean? Is that just to the end of their lives, or does it mean something else?

Resources[edit]

This section is for listing links and print resources, including those that are also cited elsewhere on this page. A short comment about the particular strengths of a resource can be helpful. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Notes[edit]

Footnotes are not required but are encouraged for factual assertions that average readers cannot easily evaluate for themselves (such as the date of King Solomon’s death or the nuanced definition of a Greek word). In contrast, insights rarely benefit from footnoting, and the focus of this page should always remain on the scriptures themselves rather than what someone has said about them. Links are actively encouraged on all sections of this page, and links to authoritative sources (such as Strong's Bible Concordance or the Joseph Smith Papers) are preferable to footnotes.



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Alma 5:16-20

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Summary[edit]

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Discussion[edit]

This section is for detailed discussion such as the meaning of a symbol, how a doctrinal point is developed throughout a passage, or insights that can be further developed in the future. Contributions may range from polished paragraphs down to a single bullet point. The focus, however, should always be on understanding the scriptural text consistent with LDS doctrine. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • Alma 5:14, 19: Bearing the Image of God in Our Countenance. Verses 14 and 19 suggest that we should have the image of God engraven upon our countenances. What does that mean? Literally, that we come to look like him. People should see him when they see us because we do his works and exude his spirit. This injunction is linked to the suggestion in 14 that we must be “spiritually born of God.” Children tend to look like their parents. Thus, those who are born of God, who become his sons and daughters, in the words of King Benjamin (Mosiah 5:7), will, if they are faithful, come to have the countenance of their parent, God. For more, see Image as Indwelling?.
  • Alma 5:15: The Eye of Faith. To see with the eye of faith is to interpret events with an eye to the true divine purpose of the world and our experience in it. An example of seeing with the eye of faith is found in Alma 4:3 where people saw judgments of God in their suffering. As the wiki commentary on that passage indicates, those suffering Nephites had probably not done anything to bring misfortune upon themselves. They seem to have been exceptionally righteous. But like Christ's apostles who say, "Is it I" (Matthew 26:22), they look for divine actions and judgements in their lives Though they are probably not factually correct in that instance, they were right to look for the hand of God in the world, i.e., to see with the eye of faith. When we see with the eye of faith, we may sometimes be mistaken in particulars--i.e., believe God has caused something to happen that he didn't cause--but will nevertheless get the big questions right, for God is involved with the world and does watch over and bless us in manifold ways.
  • Alma 5:14-25: Refutation of Nehor. In this passage, and then in much of what follows in this semon, Alma takes on Nehor, his principal theological adversary in Zarahemla and throughout Nephite lands. Nehor has taught the same doctrine that Satan put before us in the pre-existence: that all will be saved regardless of what they choose to do. In the pre-existence, Satan sought to destroy the agency of man by causing choices to have no consequence. Where all choices lead to the same end, the agency of man is destroyed (see exegesis for Alma 1:4). We have no power to determine our own destiny. All who come to earth rejected this doctrine in the council of heaven, but Satan hasn't given up, and the doctine we rejected in heaven has proven to be popular here on earth. Alma here labors to persuade his people that the doctrine of universal salvation is false. His sermon strongly emphasizes the main doctrinal point at issue: behavior has consequences. Nehor and his followers, like all of us, will face the eternal consequences of their behavior at the judgment bar that inevitably awaits each of us.
Thus, in verse 15, Alma emphasizes that all will "stand before God to be judged according to the deeds which have been done in the mortal body." This passage provides a valuable key for evaluating our behavior options: our choices should be guided by the value each alternative will have as we stand at judgment bar. Alternatively, we might ask how we will view what we are now doing at the moment of our death. Will it then appear to be time well spent or will we regret not having done something else with our precious time. In verses 17 and 18, Alma emphasizes that there will be no deception or self-deception at the judgment bar. We will be seen and will see ourselves as we actually are, clean or unclean. As the exegesis above on verses 14 and 19 suggests, if we are clean, we will have the countenance and image of God, will be like our parent. Alternatively, if on earth, in theory or practice, we have followed Satan's doctrine and have lived according to our fallen wills, we will be subject to Satan (verse 20) and receive a measure of his eternal punishment having chosen him rather than God as our father.
  • Alma 5:18: Set at defiance. This phrase only occurs three times in the scriptures: Alma 5:18, Alma 61:7, and 3 Ne 6:30. Its use in 3 Ne 6:30 is interesting, as it is talking about those who desire to overthrow the laws and resultant liberties of the people in order to be subject to kings--perhaps a shadow of what Alma is talking about here, with people disregarding the commandments and willing to be subject to the devil. Websters 1828 definition of defiance specifically ties it to notions of armed conflict: 1. A daring; a challenge to fight; invitation to combat; a call to an adversary to encounter, if he dare. Goliath bid defiance to the army of Israel. 2. A challenge to meet in any contest; a call upon one to make good any assertion or charge; an invitation to maintain any cause or point. 3. Contempt of opposition or danger; a daring or resistance that implies the contempt of an adversary, or of any opposing power. Men often transgress the law and act in defiance of authority.
  • Alma 5:21: The Works of Grace. Verse 15 says that we will be judged according to our works. How do we reconcile the importance of our works with the statement in verse 21 that it is only through the blood of Christ that we can be saved? The atonement is a work of Christ, not our work. If it is what saves us, how are we judged and saved according to our works? Alma’s answer—implicit in verses 20 and 21—is that our works are never really ours. We lesser spirits always take on the imprint of one of two greater spirits, either Satan (as mentioned in 20) or Christ (as mentioned in 14 and 19). So our good works are the works of grace. We derive our ability to be good and, ultimately, to be perfect from our relationship with the Savior. It is from our relationship with him that we acquire the capacity to keep all of God's commandments. To be sure, it is our choice whether we come to Christ or not. And it is our choice whether we remain engaged with him long enough to be sanctified, line upon line, precept upon precept, unto the perfect day. But the importance of our agency notwithstanding, our righteousness remains derivative. The fact that our ability to keep the commandments comes from our relationship with Christ is apparent, among other places, in the changing verbiage of the sacraments prayers.
The idea that our righteousness is derivative sits a little uncomfortably with the idea that we are uncreated and fundamentally autonomous beings with inherent capacity for choice (see D&C 93:29). But the scriptures make it quite clear that in practice, the domain of choice for us is defined by Christ and Lucifer. We fall in line with one or the other rather than charting our own independent path (see Alma 5:38-40).
  • Alma 5:23: Was Alma's Audience Full of Murderers? What are we to make of question in 23, “Will they not testify that ye are murderers?” Is Alma addressing a bunch of people who are murderers? Murder is the second greatest of all sins and proably the greatest sin an ordinary person can commit. So this is truly a rough crowd if many listening to Alma are murderers. But that is not likely. The word murder is used quite loosely in the Book of Mormon. Alma suggests that he himself has murdered many of his fellow Nephites (Alma 36:14), but it is quite clear that he is speaking metaphorically (Alma 26:14). In addition to its metaphorical application, the term is used to specify many different kinds of infractions that involve killing—e.g., everything from the culturally dictated acts of violence of the people of Ammon prior to their conversion (Alma 24:9) to the actions of cold blooded murderers who willfully of own their volition take another life. In this passage, murder probably functions as a kind of synechdoche. Alma uses the greatest possible sin an ordinary person can commit as a stand in for all unforgiven sins. Since we cannot bear to be in God's presence if guilty of even the smallest infraction of God's law, the smallest unrepented sin is equivalent to murder in its power to keep us from heaven (James 2:10). Murder is, thus, an apt synecdoche for communicating the seriousness of all sin when viewed from the divine perspective. We must not be complacent about even the smallest of our sins. The fact that others may be guilty of much worse than we cannot save us. Even the smallest infraction makes us guilty of all sin. So it is necessary for us to receive the atonement and endure to the end in our sanctifying relationship with Christ, the end being the achievment of godlike perfection through the enabling power of the atonement.
  • Alma 5:24: Another Appeal to Spiritual and Cultural Heritage. Alma opens this sermon with a reminder of the spiritual heritage these people have in the court of King Noah where Abinadi testified and at the Waters of Mormon. Here he extends that heritage back to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and subsequent prophets of the Old Testament era. Like belief in Christ, the patriarchs and prophets are part of Nephi's legasy to his people because it was he who secured the Brass Plates that preserved the people's memory of their connection to these great figures. In mentioning these figures, Alma is probably making a cultural as well as a religious appeal. The Brass Plates have long been a potent symbol of the political as well as the spiritual legitimacy of the Nephite regime. (See, for instance, how Benjamin sets up the coronation of his son Mosiah as king by first emphasizing the importance of the Brass Plates (Mosiah 1:2-8).
  • Alma 5:25: Make our Creator a liar. In other words, this thing cannot happen. Alma is one of the few prophets to suggest that God must follow certain patterns or cease to be God (see Alma 12:23, 42:13). Here, he relies on the reader's understanding of God's attributes (truthful, all-knowing) to realize how unlikely this event is.
  • Alma 5:26: The Song of Redeeming Love. According to Nibley, "the song of redeeming love was a very important part in the cult of Moses. When the people all came together, they would sing the song of redeeming love. It was part of their ritual” (The Book of Mormon, Vol 2, p. 326). This song is preserved in Revelations 15:3-4 where it is called the song of Moses. Since the Nephites still practice the Law of Moses, this ritual song would be an important part of their worship. It is an important motif in the Book of Mormon that also occurs in Alma 5:9 and Alma 26:13.
  • Alma 5:27: A Paradoxical Question. What is the correct answer to the question in verse 27: "Could ye say, if ye were called to die at this time, within yourselves, that ye have been sufficiently humble?" This sounds like a trick question. Won't both a "yes" and a "no" keep us out of heaven because either answer indicates that we lack sufficient humility? The correct answer is probably the following: "yes, I am humble because I fully understand that in and of myself, I am nothing, am totally lost. My virtue flows from Christ. What have I to boast of but his merciful grace?"
  • Alma 5:28-29: Parallel Sins of Pride and Envy. The structure of these verses suggests an underlying equivalence in the seemingly opposite sins of pride and envy. The equivalence is apparent in a combination of structural and verbal parallels between verse 28 which focuses on pride and verse 29 which focuses on envy. Identical words in the respective verses are italicized. Conceptually similar parallel ideas are bolded.
1a Behold, are ye stripped of pride?
2a I say unto you, if ye are not ye are not prepared to meet God.
3a Behold ye must prepare quickly; for the kingdom of heaven is soon at hand,
4a and such an one hath not eternal life.
1b Behold, I say, is there one among you who is not stripped of envy?
2b I say unto you that such an one is not prepared;
3b and I would that he should prepare quickly, for the hour is close at hand, and he knoweth not when the time shall come;
4b for such an one is not found guiltless.
The proud person and the envious person both exhibit the same error: each over values personal attributes or possessions that appeal to the natural man but have no eternal value. The proud person has these things and foolishly feels validated by them; the envous person doesn't have them, wishes he did, and resents those who do. They are alike in sharing the same misplaced values. Alma highlights the similarity of the two sins.
A number of verses in the Book of Mormon link clothing with pride (e.g., Alma 5:53, 4 Nephi 1:24). Alma 1:6 says Nehor, Alma's principle theological nemesis, "began to be lifted up in the pride of his heart, and to wear very costly apparel." In light of that connection between pride and clothing, the clothing metaphors in this section of Alma's sermon probably represent part of the ongoing refutation of Nehor. Followers of Christ are stripped of pride (verse 28) and envy (verse 29). In place of that false finery, they clothe themselves in simpler, unpretentious but beautiful garments that are "cleansed and made white through the blood of Christ" (verse 27).
  • Alma 5:30-31: Persecuting the Poor. A common theme in the Book of Mormon is how prosperous people persecute the poor, how even members of Church begin to persecute the poor as they become wealthy--in spite of a strict law that there be no persecution by members of the Church {Alma 1:21). What form does this persecution take? Alma 4:12 focuses on neglect of the poor which is wrong, but neglect is not persecution. Persecution requires an active focus on the victim. Alma 5:30 may provide the answer to this question about persecution. It links persecution with mockery. So the persecution alluded to is probably snobbery with associated ridicule or mockery of the poor because they lack fashionable possessions. Alma 1:21 says the Church had a strict law that there be no persecution by members of Church. Adults and youth (who may be especially prone to engage in this behavior) must understand that it is a grave sin to despise others and put them down because they lack fashionable possessions. Verse 31 tells us that if we indulge in this sin, we cannot be saved.

Unanswered questions[edit]

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Prompts for life application[edit]

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Prompts for further study[edit]

This section is for prompts that invite us to think about a passage more deeply or in a new way. These are not necessarily questions that beg for answers, but rather prompts along the lines of "Have you ever thought about ..." Prompts are most helpful when they are developed individually, thoughtfully, and with enough background information to clearly indicate a particular direction for further study or thought. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • Alma 5:14: What does “receive his image in your countenances” mean? Does it have anything to do with Gen 1:27: “God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them"? If we have already been created in the image of God, how can Alma ask whether those in Zarahemla have received that image? How is Alma’s teaching related to the teaching of 1 Jn 3:2: “Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.”
  • Alma 5:14: Just how close the connection is between Hebrew and the language of the Nephites is a matter of conjecture. Normally we would expect a good deal of language change in the 500 years since Lehi’s family arrived in the New World. However, if Hebrew is the priestly language of the plates rather than the everyday language of the Nephites, it may not have changed very much. If so, we can draw some tentative conclusions about Book of Mormon language from what we know about Hebrew. Perhaps the first thing to notice is that in Hebrew the word for “face” (pannim) is plural rather than singular. What implications might that have for how Hebrews and perhaps Nephites, too, understood the face? Another important thing about the Hebrew word for face is that it often stands for the person as a whole. (See, for example, Deut 28:50, Job 29:24, Prov 7:13, and Jer 5:3.) Does that suggest anything about what Alma is saying here?
  • Alma 5:14: Are the questions that Alma asks in these verses different questions or are they different ways of asking the same question?
  • Alma 5:14: What does it mean to be "spiritually born of God"? Is this the same as being "born again"?
  • Alma 5:14: How do we "receive" God's image in our countenance?
  • Alma 5:14: What is the connection between receiving God's image in our countenance and experiencing a mighty change in our heart?
  • Alma 5:14: Why does Alma refer to it as a change "in" our heart rather than a change "of" our heart?
  • Alma 5:15: What does it mean to "exercise faith in the redemption of him who created you"? In our modern terms, this faith in Christ or the Father?
  • Alma 5:15: What is "the redemption of him who created you"? Is this just another way of saying "The Atonement"? What is meant by this phrase?
  • Alma 5:15: What does it mean to "look forward with an eye of faith"? What is the "eye of faith"?
  • Alma 5:15: What does looking forward to the resurrection and judgment have to do with being saved?
  • Alma 5:15: What does it mean for "corruption" to be "raised in incorruption"?
  • Alma 5:15: How will we "be judged according to the deeds which have been done in the mortal body"?
  • Alma 5:16: What would it take for us to imagine that we hear God calling us blessed and calling us to him? What would it mean for God to call us "blessed"?
  • Alma 5:16: How is imagination tied to salvation? How is imagination tied to exercising faith?
  • Alma 5:16: What does it mean to "come unto" God in this way? How might that be different from how we normally talk about coming unto God?
  • Alma 5:16: If every person sins, what does it take for our works to be the works of righteousness? What are "the" works of righteousness? Does that mean all of our works are righteous, or that there is an expected subset of works that are righteous? What does righteous mean in this context?
  • Alma 5:16: What is meant by "upon the face of the earth"? Is that just another way of saying "in mortality" or is there something else implied here?
  • Alma 5:17: How does Alma contrast these two acts of imagination by use of the term "or"?
  • Alma 5:17: What does it mean to "imagine to yourselves"? Is this just another way of saying "imagine", or is there something else going on here?
  • Alma 5:17: How could anyone imagine lying to the Lord? Why does Alma bring this up?
  • Alma 5:17: If Alma imagines someone lying unto the Lord when they state that their works have been righteous works, does that imply that he imagines everyone will have to make their own statement about their own works, something that isn't mentioned in the earlier example of judgment?
  • Alma 5:17: What does this imaginative account of judgment and salvation imply about these two acts? How literally should we take this account?
  • Alma 5:17: Is salvation something that happens after resurrection and judgment, or is this just an imaginative metaphor for some other process?
  • Alma 5:18: What does it mean to be "brought before the tribunal of God"? Who is it that brings us? How are we brought?
  • Alma 5:18: What does it mean to be have your soul "filled with guilt and remorse"? Isn't this a good thing that leads to repentance?
  • Alma 5:18: What is it about the remembrance of guilt and wickedness that is damning in this situation?
  • Alma 5:18: How are we supposed to forget our guilt and memories of our wickedness?
  • Alma 5:18: What is meant by a "perfect" remembrance"? How is that different from a normal memory?
  • Alma 5:18: What does it mean to "set at defiance the commandments of God"? Is this just another way of saying "being disobedient" or is there something else going on here? What does it mean to "set at defiance"?
  • Alma 5:18: Which "commandments of God" are referred to here? Are these specific commandments, or just everything that God has said to do?
  • Alma 5:19: Why do you think Alma says that we will look up at that day? Could he possibly be suggesting that we will be on our knees, kneeling before the Lord and looking up at Him?
  • Alma 5:19: What are "a pure heart and clean hands"? Are these the same things, or two different things?
  • Alma 5:19: What does it mean for hands to be clean?
  • Alma 5:19: What does it mean for the "image of God" to be "engraven upon your countenances"? How is it "engraven"? What is our countenance?
  • Alma 5:20: What does Alma mean by "being saved"?
  • Alma 5:20: How does someone "yield themselves" to the devil? What does this imply about our use of agency?
  • Alma 5:20: What does it mean "to become subjects to the devil?"
  • Alma 5:20: Does this give us any insight into the ground of our being? Is there neutral ground, a way to avoid yielding ourselves to either God or the devil? Or are we forced to chose? Are there any neutral choices?
  • Alma 5:21: Compare what Alma says here about salvation with what he said about it in verses 10-13. Here he says that to be saved we must have our garments washed white in the blood of the Redeemer. There he says that we must have our hearts changed, humble ourselves, trust God, and remain faithful. How are those two descriptions of salvation related?
  • Alma 5:21: Cannot be saved. How does this statement compare with the idea that all mankind can be saved by grace (see Eph 2:5)?
  • Alma 5:23: Alma seems to use murder as the type of all sin. Why is it appropriate to do so?
  • Alma 5:26: Why does Alma call these people his "brethren"? Are these people of his Nephite lineage, or members of the Church, or both?
  • Alma 5:26: Why is experiencing the change of heart described as singing “the song of redeeming love"? What does the question of this verse suggest is Alma’s concern for the people of Zarahemla? How is it an appropriate question for us?
  • Alma 5:26: How is it possible to experience a change of heart, but to lose that feeling?
  • Alma 5:27: Does it make sense to understand these questions as tests we can use to answer the question, “Am I clean?”
  • Alma 5:27: Is Alma using humility and having one’s garments washed clean as parallel concepts in this verse? If not, why does he particularly mention humility?
  • Alma 5:28: What does it mean to be stripped of pride? Why are we unprepared to meet God if we are not stripped of pride?
  • Alma 5:29: What might Alma mean here by “envy"? How does envy prevent us from being in the presence of God?
  • Alma 5:30: What mockery or persecution within the Church might Alma have in mind? (Compare Alma 1:22-24—how did the contention with those outside the Church lead to excommunications?)
  • Alma 5:32: Who are the workers of iniquity? Is iniquity different from sin? Why does the verse end with “for the Lord hath spoken it"?

Resources[edit]

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  • Alma 5:26-31: Change of heart. In a 1989 Fireside address at BYU titled Come unto Christ, Elder Eyring talks about how these verses (specifically 26-31) can be use to help understand whether we have had a change of heart, i.e. whether we have repented.

Notes[edit]

Footnotes are not required but are encouraged for factual assertions that average readers cannot easily evaluate for themselves (such as the date of King Solomon’s death or the nuanced definition of a Greek word). In contrast, insights rarely benefit from footnoting, and the focus of this page should always remain on the scriptures themselves rather than what someone has said about them. Links are actively encouraged on all sections of this page, and links to authoritative sources (such as Strong's Bible Concordance or the Joseph Smith Papers) are preferable to footnotes.



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Alma 5:21-25

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Summary[edit]

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Discussion[edit]

This section is for detailed discussion such as the meaning of a symbol, how a doctrinal point is developed throughout a passage, or insights that can be further developed in the future. Contributions may range from polished paragraphs down to a single bullet point. The focus, however, should always be on understanding the scriptural text consistent with LDS doctrine. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • Alma 5:14, 19: Bearing the Image of God in Our Countenance. Verses 14 and 19 suggest that we should have the image of God engraven upon our countenances. What does that mean? Literally, that we come to look like him. People should see him when they see us because we do his works and exude his spirit. This injunction is linked to the suggestion in 14 that we must be “spiritually born of God.” Children tend to look like their parents. Thus, those who are born of God, who become his sons and daughters, in the words of King Benjamin (Mosiah 5:7), will, if they are faithful, come to have the countenance of their parent, God. For more, see Image as Indwelling?.
  • Alma 5:15: The Eye of Faith. To see with the eye of faith is to interpret events with an eye to the true divine purpose of the world and our experience in it. An example of seeing with the eye of faith is found in Alma 4:3 where people saw judgments of God in their suffering. As the wiki commentary on that passage indicates, those suffering Nephites had probably not done anything to bring misfortune upon themselves. They seem to have been exceptionally righteous. But like Christ's apostles who say, "Is it I" (Matthew 26:22), they look for divine actions and judgements in their lives Though they are probably not factually correct in that instance, they were right to look for the hand of God in the world, i.e., to see with the eye of faith. When we see with the eye of faith, we may sometimes be mistaken in particulars--i.e., believe God has caused something to happen that he didn't cause--but will nevertheless get the big questions right, for God is involved with the world and does watch over and bless us in manifold ways.
  • Alma 5:14-25: Refutation of Nehor. In this passage, and then in much of what follows in this semon, Alma takes on Nehor, his principal theological adversary in Zarahemla and throughout Nephite lands. Nehor has taught the same doctrine that Satan put before us in the pre-existence: that all will be saved regardless of what they choose to do. In the pre-existence, Satan sought to destroy the agency of man by causing choices to have no consequence. Where all choices lead to the same end, the agency of man is destroyed (see exegesis for Alma 1:4). We have no power to determine our own destiny. All who come to earth rejected this doctrine in the council of heaven, but Satan hasn't given up, and the doctine we rejected in heaven has proven to be popular here on earth. Alma here labors to persuade his people that the doctrine of universal salvation is false. His sermon strongly emphasizes the main doctrinal point at issue: behavior has consequences. Nehor and his followers, like all of us, will face the eternal consequences of their behavior at the judgment bar that inevitably awaits each of us.
Thus, in verse 15, Alma emphasizes that all will "stand before God to be judged according to the deeds which have been done in the mortal body." This passage provides a valuable key for evaluating our behavior options: our choices should be guided by the value each alternative will have as we stand at judgment bar. Alternatively, we might ask how we will view what we are now doing at the moment of our death. Will it then appear to be time well spent or will we regret not having done something else with our precious time. In verses 17 and 18, Alma emphasizes that there will be no deception or self-deception at the judgment bar. We will be seen and will see ourselves as we actually are, clean or unclean. As the exegesis above on verses 14 and 19 suggests, if we are clean, we will have the countenance and image of God, will be like our parent. Alternatively, if on earth, in theory or practice, we have followed Satan's doctrine and have lived according to our fallen wills, we will be subject to Satan (verse 20) and receive a measure of his eternal punishment having chosen him rather than God as our father.
  • Alma 5:18: Set at defiance. This phrase only occurs three times in the scriptures: Alma 5:18, Alma 61:7, and 3 Ne 6:30. Its use in 3 Ne 6:30 is interesting, as it is talking about those who desire to overthrow the laws and resultant liberties of the people in order to be subject to kings--perhaps a shadow of what Alma is talking about here, with people disregarding the commandments and willing to be subject to the devil. Websters 1828 definition of defiance specifically ties it to notions of armed conflict: 1. A daring; a challenge to fight; invitation to combat; a call to an adversary to encounter, if he dare. Goliath bid defiance to the army of Israel. 2. A challenge to meet in any contest; a call upon one to make good any assertion or charge; an invitation to maintain any cause or point. 3. Contempt of opposition or danger; a daring or resistance that implies the contempt of an adversary, or of any opposing power. Men often transgress the law and act in defiance of authority.
  • Alma 5:21: The Works of Grace. Verse 15 says that we will be judged according to our works. How do we reconcile the importance of our works with the statement in verse 21 that it is only through the blood of Christ that we can be saved? The atonement is a work of Christ, not our work. If it is what saves us, how are we judged and saved according to our works? Alma’s answer—implicit in verses 20 and 21—is that our works are never really ours. We lesser spirits always take on the imprint of one of two greater spirits, either Satan (as mentioned in 20) or Christ (as mentioned in 14 and 19). So our good works are the works of grace. We derive our ability to be good and, ultimately, to be perfect from our relationship with the Savior. It is from our relationship with him that we acquire the capacity to keep all of God's commandments. To be sure, it is our choice whether we come to Christ or not. And it is our choice whether we remain engaged with him long enough to be sanctified, line upon line, precept upon precept, unto the perfect day. But the importance of our agency notwithstanding, our righteousness remains derivative. The fact that our ability to keep the commandments comes from our relationship with Christ is apparent, among other places, in the changing verbiage of the sacraments prayers.
The idea that our righteousness is derivative sits a little uncomfortably with the idea that we are uncreated and fundamentally autonomous beings with inherent capacity for choice (see D&C 93:29). But the scriptures make it quite clear that in practice, the domain of choice for us is defined by Christ and Lucifer. We fall in line with one or the other rather than charting our own independent path (see Alma 5:38-40).
  • Alma 5:23: Was Alma's Audience Full of Murderers? What are we to make of question in 23, “Will they not testify that ye are murderers?” Is Alma addressing a bunch of people who are murderers? Murder is the second greatest of all sins and proably the greatest sin an ordinary person can commit. So this is truly a rough crowd if many listening to Alma are murderers. But that is not likely. The word murder is used quite loosely in the Book of Mormon. Alma suggests that he himself has murdered many of his fellow Nephites (Alma 36:14), but it is quite clear that he is speaking metaphorically (Alma 26:14). In addition to its metaphorical application, the term is used to specify many different kinds of infractions that involve killing—e.g., everything from the culturally dictated acts of violence of the people of Ammon prior to their conversion (Alma 24:9) to the actions of cold blooded murderers who willfully of own their volition take another life. In this passage, murder probably functions as a kind of synechdoche. Alma uses the greatest possible sin an ordinary person can commit as a stand in for all unforgiven sins. Since we cannot bear to be in God's presence if guilty of even the smallest infraction of God's law, the smallest unrepented sin is equivalent to murder in its power to keep us from heaven (James 2:10). Murder is, thus, an apt synecdoche for communicating the seriousness of all sin when viewed from the divine perspective. We must not be complacent about even the smallest of our sins. The fact that others may be guilty of much worse than we cannot save us. Even the smallest infraction makes us guilty of all sin. So it is necessary for us to receive the atonement and endure to the end in our sanctifying relationship with Christ, the end being the achievment of godlike perfection through the enabling power of the atonement.
  • Alma 5:24: Another Appeal to Spiritual and Cultural Heritage. Alma opens this sermon with a reminder of the spiritual heritage these people have in the court of King Noah where Abinadi testified and at the Waters of Mormon. Here he extends that heritage back to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and subsequent prophets of the Old Testament era. Like belief in Christ, the patriarchs and prophets are part of Nephi's legasy to his people because it was he who secured the Brass Plates that preserved the people's memory of their connection to these great figures. In mentioning these figures, Alma is probably making a cultural as well as a religious appeal. The Brass Plates have long been a potent symbol of the political as well as the spiritual legitimacy of the Nephite regime. (See, for instance, how Benjamin sets up the coronation of his son Mosiah as king by first emphasizing the importance of the Brass Plates (Mosiah 1:2-8).
  • Alma 5:25: Make our Creator a liar. In other words, this thing cannot happen. Alma is one of the few prophets to suggest that God must follow certain patterns or cease to be God (see Alma 12:23, 42:13). Here, he relies on the reader's understanding of God's attributes (truthful, all-knowing) to realize how unlikely this event is.
  • Alma 5:26: The Song of Redeeming Love. According to Nibley, "the song of redeeming love was a very important part in the cult of Moses. When the people all came together, they would sing the song of redeeming love. It was part of their ritual” (The Book of Mormon, Vol 2, p. 326). This song is preserved in Revelations 15:3-4 where it is called the song of Moses. Since the Nephites still practice the Law of Moses, this ritual song would be an important part of their worship. It is an important motif in the Book of Mormon that also occurs in Alma 5:9 and Alma 26:13.
  • Alma 5:27: A Paradoxical Question. What is the correct answer to the question in verse 27: "Could ye say, if ye were called to die at this time, within yourselves, that ye have been sufficiently humble?" This sounds like a trick question. Won't both a "yes" and a "no" keep us out of heaven because either answer indicates that we lack sufficient humility? The correct answer is probably the following: "yes, I am humble because I fully understand that in and of myself, I am nothing, am totally lost. My virtue flows from Christ. What have I to boast of but his merciful grace?"
  • Alma 5:28-29: Parallel Sins of Pride and Envy. The structure of these verses suggests an underlying equivalence in the seemingly opposite sins of pride and envy. The equivalence is apparent in a combination of structural and verbal parallels between verse 28 which focuses on pride and verse 29 which focuses on envy. Identical words in the respective verses are italicized. Conceptually similar parallel ideas are bolded.
1a Behold, are ye stripped of pride?
2a I say unto you, if ye are not ye are not prepared to meet God.
3a Behold ye must prepare quickly; for the kingdom of heaven is soon at hand,
4a and such an one hath not eternal life.
1b Behold, I say, is there one among you who is not stripped of envy?
2b I say unto you that such an one is not prepared;
3b and I would that he should prepare quickly, for the hour is close at hand, and he knoweth not when the time shall come;
4b for such an one is not found guiltless.
The proud person and the envious person both exhibit the same error: each over values personal attributes or possessions that appeal to the natural man but have no eternal value. The proud person has these things and foolishly feels validated by them; the envous person doesn't have them, wishes he did, and resents those who do. They are alike in sharing the same misplaced values. Alma highlights the similarity of the two sins.
A number of verses in the Book of Mormon link clothing with pride (e.g., Alma 5:53, 4 Nephi 1:24). Alma 1:6 says Nehor, Alma's principle theological nemesis, "began to be lifted up in the pride of his heart, and to wear very costly apparel." In light of that connection between pride and clothing, the clothing metaphors in this section of Alma's sermon probably represent part of the ongoing refutation of Nehor. Followers of Christ are stripped of pride (verse 28) and envy (verse 29). In place of that false finery, they clothe themselves in simpler, unpretentious but beautiful garments that are "cleansed and made white through the blood of Christ" (verse 27).
  • Alma 5:30-31: Persecuting the Poor. A common theme in the Book of Mormon is how prosperous people persecute the poor, how even members of Church begin to persecute the poor as they become wealthy--in spite of a strict law that there be no persecution by members of the Church {Alma 1:21). What form does this persecution take? Alma 4:12 focuses on neglect of the poor which is wrong, but neglect is not persecution. Persecution requires an active focus on the victim. Alma 5:30 may provide the answer to this question about persecution. It links persecution with mockery. So the persecution alluded to is probably snobbery with associated ridicule or mockery of the poor because they lack fashionable possessions. Alma 1:21 says the Church had a strict law that there be no persecution by members of Church. Adults and youth (who may be especially prone to engage in this behavior) must understand that it is a grave sin to despise others and put them down because they lack fashionable possessions. Verse 31 tells us that if we indulge in this sin, we cannot be saved.

Unanswered questions[edit]

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Prompts for life application[edit]

This section is for prompts that suggest ways in which a passage can influence a person's life. Prompts may be appropriate either for private self reflection or for a class discussion. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Prompts for further study[edit]

This section is for prompts that invite us to think about a passage more deeply or in a new way. These are not necessarily questions that beg for answers, but rather prompts along the lines of "Have you ever thought about ..." Prompts are most helpful when they are developed individually, thoughtfully, and with enough background information to clearly indicate a particular direction for further study or thought. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • Alma 5:14: What does “receive his image in your countenances” mean? Does it have anything to do with Gen 1:27: “God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them"? If we have already been created in the image of God, how can Alma ask whether those in Zarahemla have received that image? How is Alma’s teaching related to the teaching of 1 Jn 3:2: “Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.”
  • Alma 5:14: Just how close the connection is between Hebrew and the language of the Nephites is a matter of conjecture. Normally we would expect a good deal of language change in the 500 years since Lehi’s family arrived in the New World. However, if Hebrew is the priestly language of the plates rather than the everyday language of the Nephites, it may not have changed very much. If so, we can draw some tentative conclusions about Book of Mormon language from what we know about Hebrew. Perhaps the first thing to notice is that in Hebrew the word for “face” (pannim) is plural rather than singular. What implications might that have for how Hebrews and perhaps Nephites, too, understood the face? Another important thing about the Hebrew word for face is that it often stands for the person as a whole. (See, for example, Deut 28:50, Job 29:24, Prov 7:13, and Jer 5:3.) Does that suggest anything about what Alma is saying here?
  • Alma 5:14: Are the questions that Alma asks in these verses different questions or are they different ways of asking the same question?
  • Alma 5:14: What does it mean to be "spiritually born of God"? Is this the same as being "born again"?
  • Alma 5:14: How do we "receive" God's image in our countenance?
  • Alma 5:14: What is the connection between receiving God's image in our countenance and experiencing a mighty change in our heart?
  • Alma 5:14: Why does Alma refer to it as a change "in" our heart rather than a change "of" our heart?
  • Alma 5:15: What does it mean to "exercise faith in the redemption of him who created you"? In our modern terms, this faith in Christ or the Father?
  • Alma 5:15: What is "the redemption of him who created you"? Is this just another way of saying "The Atonement"? What is meant by this phrase?
  • Alma 5:15: What does it mean to "look forward with an eye of faith"? What is the "eye of faith"?
  • Alma 5:15: What does looking forward to the resurrection and judgment have to do with being saved?
  • Alma 5:15: What does it mean for "corruption" to be "raised in incorruption"?
  • Alma 5:15: How will we "be judged according to the deeds which have been done in the mortal body"?
  • Alma 5:16: What would it take for us to imagine that we hear God calling us blessed and calling us to him? What would it mean for God to call us "blessed"?
  • Alma 5:16: How is imagination tied to salvation? How is imagination tied to exercising faith?
  • Alma 5:16: What does it mean to "come unto" God in this way? How might that be different from how we normally talk about coming unto God?
  • Alma 5:16: If every person sins, what does it take for our works to be the works of righteousness? What are "the" works of righteousness? Does that mean all of our works are righteous, or that there is an expected subset of works that are righteous? What does righteous mean in this context?
  • Alma 5:16: What is meant by "upon the face of the earth"? Is that just another way of saying "in mortality" or is there something else implied here?
  • Alma 5:17: How does Alma contrast these two acts of imagination by use of the term "or"?
  • Alma 5:17: What does it mean to "imagine to yourselves"? Is this just another way of saying "imagine", or is there something else going on here?
  • Alma 5:17: How could anyone imagine lying to the Lord? Why does Alma bring this up?
  • Alma 5:17: If Alma imagines someone lying unto the Lord when they state that their works have been righteous works, does that imply that he imagines everyone will have to make their own statement about their own works, something that isn't mentioned in the earlier example of judgment?
  • Alma 5:17: What does this imaginative account of judgment and salvation imply about these two acts? How literally should we take this account?
  • Alma 5:17: Is salvation something that happens after resurrection and judgment, or is this just an imaginative metaphor for some other process?
  • Alma 5:18: What does it mean to be "brought before the tribunal of God"? Who is it that brings us? How are we brought?
  • Alma 5:18: What does it mean to be have your soul "filled with guilt and remorse"? Isn't this a good thing that leads to repentance?
  • Alma 5:18: What is it about the remembrance of guilt and wickedness that is damning in this situation?
  • Alma 5:18: How are we supposed to forget our guilt and memories of our wickedness?
  • Alma 5:18: What is meant by a "perfect" remembrance"? How is that different from a normal memory?
  • Alma 5:18: What does it mean to "set at defiance the commandments of God"? Is this just another way of saying "being disobedient" or is there something else going on here? What does it mean to "set at defiance"?
  • Alma 5:18: Which "commandments of God" are referred to here? Are these specific commandments, or just everything that God has said to do?
  • Alma 5:19: Why do you think Alma says that we will look up at that day? Could he possibly be suggesting that we will be on our knees, kneeling before the Lord and looking up at Him?
  • Alma 5:19: What are "a pure heart and clean hands"? Are these the same things, or two different things?
  • Alma 5:19: What does it mean for hands to be clean?
  • Alma 5:19: What does it mean for the "image of God" to be "engraven upon your countenances"? How is it "engraven"? What is our countenance?
  • Alma 5:20: What does Alma mean by "being saved"?
  • Alma 5:20: How does someone "yield themselves" to the devil? What does this imply about our use of agency?
  • Alma 5:20: What does it mean "to become subjects to the devil?"
  • Alma 5:20: Does this give us any insight into the ground of our being? Is there neutral ground, a way to avoid yielding ourselves to either God or the devil? Or are we forced to chose? Are there any neutral choices?
  • Alma 5:21: Compare what Alma says here about salvation with what he said about it in verses 10-13. Here he says that to be saved we must have our garments washed white in the blood of the Redeemer. There he says that we must have our hearts changed, humble ourselves, trust God, and remain faithful. How are those two descriptions of salvation related?
  • Alma 5:21: Cannot be saved. How does this statement compare with the idea that all mankind can be saved by grace (see Eph 2:5)?
  • Alma 5:23: Alma seems to use murder as the type of all sin. Why is it appropriate to do so?
  • Alma 5:26: Why does Alma call these people his "brethren"? Are these people of his Nephite lineage, or members of the Church, or both?
  • Alma 5:26: Why is experiencing the change of heart described as singing “the song of redeeming love"? What does the question of this verse suggest is Alma’s concern for the people of Zarahemla? How is it an appropriate question for us?
  • Alma 5:26: How is it possible to experience a change of heart, but to lose that feeling?
  • Alma 5:27: Does it make sense to understand these questions as tests we can use to answer the question, “Am I clean?”
  • Alma 5:27: Is Alma using humility and having one’s garments washed clean as parallel concepts in this verse? If not, why does he particularly mention humility?
  • Alma 5:28: What does it mean to be stripped of pride? Why are we unprepared to meet God if we are not stripped of pride?
  • Alma 5:29: What might Alma mean here by “envy"? How does envy prevent us from being in the presence of God?
  • Alma 5:30: What mockery or persecution within the Church might Alma have in mind? (Compare Alma 1:22-24—how did the contention with those outside the Church lead to excommunications?)
  • Alma 5:32: Who are the workers of iniquity? Is iniquity different from sin? Why does the verse end with “for the Lord hath spoken it"?

Resources[edit]

This section is for listing links and print resources, including those that are also cited elsewhere on this page. A short comment about the particular strengths of a resource can be helpful. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • Alma 5:26-31: Change of heart. In a 1989 Fireside address at BYU titled Come unto Christ, Elder Eyring talks about how these verses (specifically 26-31) can be use to help understand whether we have had a change of heart, i.e. whether we have repented.

Notes[edit]

Footnotes are not required but are encouraged for factual assertions that average readers cannot easily evaluate for themselves (such as the date of King Solomon’s death or the nuanced definition of a Greek word). In contrast, insights rarely benefit from footnoting, and the focus of this page should always remain on the scriptures themselves rather than what someone has said about them. Links are actively encouraged on all sections of this page, and links to authoritative sources (such as Strong's Bible Concordance or the Joseph Smith Papers) are preferable to footnotes.



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Alma 5:26-30

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Summary[edit]

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Discussion[edit]

This section is for detailed discussion such as the meaning of a symbol, how a doctrinal point is developed throughout a passage, or insights that can be further developed in the future. Contributions may range from polished paragraphs down to a single bullet point. The focus, however, should always be on understanding the scriptural text consistent with LDS doctrine. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • Alma 5:14, 19: Bearing the Image of God in Our Countenance. Verses 14 and 19 suggest that we should have the image of God engraven upon our countenances. What does that mean? Literally, that we come to look like him. People should see him when they see us because we do his works and exude his spirit. This injunction is linked to the suggestion in 14 that we must be “spiritually born of God.” Children tend to look like their parents. Thus, those who are born of God, who become his sons and daughters, in the words of King Benjamin (Mosiah 5:7), will, if they are faithful, come to have the countenance of their parent, God. For more, see Image as Indwelling?.
  • Alma 5:15: The Eye of Faith. To see with the eye of faith is to interpret events with an eye to the true divine purpose of the world and our experience in it. An example of seeing with the eye of faith is found in Alma 4:3 where people saw judgments of God in their suffering. As the wiki commentary on that passage indicates, those suffering Nephites had probably not done anything to bring misfortune upon themselves. They seem to have been exceptionally righteous. But like Christ's apostles who say, "Is it I" (Matthew 26:22), they look for divine actions and judgements in their lives Though they are probably not factually correct in that instance, they were right to look for the hand of God in the world, i.e., to see with the eye of faith. When we see with the eye of faith, we may sometimes be mistaken in particulars--i.e., believe God has caused something to happen that he didn't cause--but will nevertheless get the big questions right, for God is involved with the world and does watch over and bless us in manifold ways.
  • Alma 5:14-25: Refutation of Nehor. In this passage, and then in much of what follows in this semon, Alma takes on Nehor, his principal theological adversary in Zarahemla and throughout Nephite lands. Nehor has taught the same doctrine that Satan put before us in the pre-existence: that all will be saved regardless of what they choose to do. In the pre-existence, Satan sought to destroy the agency of man by causing choices to have no consequence. Where all choices lead to the same end, the agency of man is destroyed (see exegesis for Alma 1:4). We have no power to determine our own destiny. All who come to earth rejected this doctrine in the council of heaven, but Satan hasn't given up, and the doctine we rejected in heaven has proven to be popular here on earth. Alma here labors to persuade his people that the doctrine of universal salvation is false. His sermon strongly emphasizes the main doctrinal point at issue: behavior has consequences. Nehor and his followers, like all of us, will face the eternal consequences of their behavior at the judgment bar that inevitably awaits each of us.
Thus, in verse 15, Alma emphasizes that all will "stand before God to be judged according to the deeds which have been done in the mortal body." This passage provides a valuable key for evaluating our behavior options: our choices should be guided by the value each alternative will have as we stand at judgment bar. Alternatively, we might ask how we will view what we are now doing at the moment of our death. Will it then appear to be time well spent or will we regret not having done something else with our precious time. In verses 17 and 18, Alma emphasizes that there will be no deception or self-deception at the judgment bar. We will be seen and will see ourselves as we actually are, clean or unclean. As the exegesis above on verses 14 and 19 suggests, if we are clean, we will have the countenance and image of God, will be like our parent. Alternatively, if on earth, in theory or practice, we have followed Satan's doctrine and have lived according to our fallen wills, we will be subject to Satan (verse 20) and receive a measure of his eternal punishment having chosen him rather than God as our father.
  • Alma 5:18: Set at defiance. This phrase only occurs three times in the scriptures: Alma 5:18, Alma 61:7, and 3 Ne 6:30. Its use in 3 Ne 6:30 is interesting, as it is talking about those who desire to overthrow the laws and resultant liberties of the people in order to be subject to kings--perhaps a shadow of what Alma is talking about here, with people disregarding the commandments and willing to be subject to the devil. Websters 1828 definition of defiance specifically ties it to notions of armed conflict: 1. A daring; a challenge to fight; invitation to combat; a call to an adversary to encounter, if he dare. Goliath bid defiance to the army of Israel. 2. A challenge to meet in any contest; a call upon one to make good any assertion or charge; an invitation to maintain any cause or point. 3. Contempt of opposition or danger; a daring or resistance that implies the contempt of an adversary, or of any opposing power. Men often transgress the law and act in defiance of authority.
  • Alma 5:21: The Works of Grace. Verse 15 says that we will be judged according to our works. How do we reconcile the importance of our works with the statement in verse 21 that it is only through the blood of Christ that we can be saved? The atonement is a work of Christ, not our work. If it is what saves us, how are we judged and saved according to our works? Alma’s answer—implicit in verses 20 and 21—is that our works are never really ours. We lesser spirits always take on the imprint of one of two greater spirits, either Satan (as mentioned in 20) or Christ (as mentioned in 14 and 19). So our good works are the works of grace. We derive our ability to be good and, ultimately, to be perfect from our relationship with the Savior. It is from our relationship with him that we acquire the capacity to keep all of God's commandments. To be sure, it is our choice whether we come to Christ or not. And it is our choice whether we remain engaged with him long enough to be sanctified, line upon line, precept upon precept, unto the perfect day. But the importance of our agency notwithstanding, our righteousness remains derivative. The fact that our ability to keep the commandments comes from our relationship with Christ is apparent, among other places, in the changing verbiage of the sacraments prayers.
The idea that our righteousness is derivative sits a little uncomfortably with the idea that we are uncreated and fundamentally autonomous beings with inherent capacity for choice (see D&C 93:29). But the scriptures make it quite clear that in practice, the domain of choice for us is defined by Christ and Lucifer. We fall in line with one or the other rather than charting our own independent path (see Alma 5:38-40).
  • Alma 5:23: Was Alma's Audience Full of Murderers? What are we to make of question in 23, “Will they not testify that ye are murderers?” Is Alma addressing a bunch of people who are murderers? Murder is the second greatest of all sins and proably the greatest sin an ordinary person can commit. So this is truly a rough crowd if many listening to Alma are murderers. But that is not likely. The word murder is used quite loosely in the Book of Mormon. Alma suggests that he himself has murdered many of his fellow Nephites (Alma 36:14), but it is quite clear that he is speaking metaphorically (Alma 26:14). In addition to its metaphorical application, the term is used to specify many different kinds of infractions that involve killing—e.g., everything from the culturally dictated acts of violence of the people of Ammon prior to their conversion (Alma 24:9) to the actions of cold blooded murderers who willfully of own their volition take another life. In this passage, murder probably functions as a kind of synechdoche. Alma uses the greatest possible sin an ordinary person can commit as a stand in for all unforgiven sins. Since we cannot bear to be in God's presence if guilty of even the smallest infraction of God's law, the smallest unrepented sin is equivalent to murder in its power to keep us from heaven (James 2:10). Murder is, thus, an apt synecdoche for communicating the seriousness of all sin when viewed from the divine perspective. We must not be complacent about even the smallest of our sins. The fact that others may be guilty of much worse than we cannot save us. Even the smallest infraction makes us guilty of all sin. So it is necessary for us to receive the atonement and endure to the end in our sanctifying relationship with Christ, the end being the achievment of godlike perfection through the enabling power of the atonement.
  • Alma 5:24: Another Appeal to Spiritual and Cultural Heritage. Alma opens this sermon with a reminder of the spiritual heritage these people have in the court of King Noah where Abinadi testified and at the Waters of Mormon. Here he extends that heritage back to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and subsequent prophets of the Old Testament era. Like belief in Christ, the patriarchs and prophets are part of Nephi's legasy to his people because it was he who secured the Brass Plates that preserved the people's memory of their connection to these great figures. In mentioning these figures, Alma is probably making a cultural as well as a religious appeal. The Brass Plates have long been a potent symbol of the political as well as the spiritual legitimacy of the Nephite regime. (See, for instance, how Benjamin sets up the coronation of his son Mosiah as king by first emphasizing the importance of the Brass Plates (Mosiah 1:2-8).
  • Alma 5:25: Make our Creator a liar. In other words, this thing cannot happen. Alma is one of the few prophets to suggest that God must follow certain patterns or cease to be God (see Alma 12:23, 42:13). Here, he relies on the reader's understanding of God's attributes (truthful, all-knowing) to realize how unlikely this event is.
  • Alma 5:26: The Song of Redeeming Love. According to Nibley, "the song of redeeming love was a very important part in the cult of Moses. When the people all came together, they would sing the song of redeeming love. It was part of their ritual” (The Book of Mormon, Vol 2, p. 326). This song is preserved in Revelations 15:3-4 where it is called the song of Moses. Since the Nephites still practice the Law of Moses, this ritual song would be an important part of their worship. It is an important motif in the Book of Mormon that also occurs in Alma 5:9 and Alma 26:13.
  • Alma 5:27: A Paradoxical Question. What is the correct answer to the question in verse 27: "Could ye say, if ye were called to die at this time, within yourselves, that ye have been sufficiently humble?" This sounds like a trick question. Won't both a "yes" and a "no" keep us out of heaven because either answer indicates that we lack sufficient humility? The correct answer is probably the following: "yes, I am humble because I fully understand that in and of myself, I am nothing, am totally lost. My virtue flows from Christ. What have I to boast of but his merciful grace?"
  • Alma 5:28-29: Parallel Sins of Pride and Envy. The structure of these verses suggests an underlying equivalence in the seemingly opposite sins of pride and envy. The equivalence is apparent in a combination of structural and verbal parallels between verse 28 which focuses on pride and verse 29 which focuses on envy. Identical words in the respective verses are italicized. Conceptually similar parallel ideas are bolded.
1a Behold, are ye stripped of pride?
2a I say unto you, if ye are not ye are not prepared to meet God.
3a Behold ye must prepare quickly; for the kingdom of heaven is soon at hand,
4a and such an one hath not eternal life.
1b Behold, I say, is there one among you who is not stripped of envy?
2b I say unto you that such an one is not prepared;
3b and I would that he should prepare quickly, for the hour is close at hand, and he knoweth not when the time shall come;
4b for such an one is not found guiltless.
The proud person and the envious person both exhibit the same error: each over values personal attributes or possessions that appeal to the natural man but have no eternal value. The proud person has these things and foolishly feels validated by them; the envous person doesn't have them, wishes he did, and resents those who do. They are alike in sharing the same misplaced values. Alma highlights the similarity of the two sins.
A number of verses in the Book of Mormon link clothing with pride (e.g., Alma 5:53, 4 Nephi 1:24). Alma 1:6 says Nehor, Alma's principle theological nemesis, "began to be lifted up in the pride of his heart, and to wear very costly apparel." In light of that connection between pride and clothing, the clothing metaphors in this section of Alma's sermon probably represent part of the ongoing refutation of Nehor. Followers of Christ are stripped of pride (verse 28) and envy (verse 29). In place of that false finery, they clothe themselves in simpler, unpretentious but beautiful garments that are "cleansed and made white through the blood of Christ" (verse 27).
  • Alma 5:30-31: Persecuting the Poor. A common theme in the Book of Mormon is how prosperous people persecute the poor, how even members of Church begin to persecute the poor as they become wealthy--in spite of a strict law that there be no persecution by members of the Church {Alma 1:21). What form does this persecution take? Alma 4:12 focuses on neglect of the poor which is wrong, but neglect is not persecution. Persecution requires an active focus on the victim. Alma 5:30 may provide the answer to this question about persecution. It links persecution with mockery. So the persecution alluded to is probably snobbery with associated ridicule or mockery of the poor because they lack fashionable possessions. Alma 1:21 says the Church had a strict law that there be no persecution by members of Church. Adults and youth (who may be especially prone to engage in this behavior) must understand that it is a grave sin to despise others and put them down because they lack fashionable possessions. Verse 31 tells us that if we indulge in this sin, we cannot be saved.

Unanswered questions[edit]

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Prompts for life application[edit]

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Prompts for further study[edit]

This section is for prompts that invite us to think about a passage more deeply or in a new way. These are not necessarily questions that beg for answers, but rather prompts along the lines of "Have you ever thought about ..." Prompts are most helpful when they are developed individually, thoughtfully, and with enough background information to clearly indicate a particular direction for further study or thought. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • Alma 5:14: What does “receive his image in your countenances” mean? Does it have anything to do with Gen 1:27: “God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them"? If we have already been created in the image of God, how can Alma ask whether those in Zarahemla have received that image? How is Alma’s teaching related to the teaching of 1 Jn 3:2: “Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.”
  • Alma 5:14: Just how close the connection is between Hebrew and the language of the Nephites is a matter of conjecture. Normally we would expect a good deal of language change in the 500 years since Lehi’s family arrived in the New World. However, if Hebrew is the priestly language of the plates rather than the everyday language of the Nephites, it may not have changed very much. If so, we can draw some tentative conclusions about Book of Mormon language from what we know about Hebrew. Perhaps the first thing to notice is that in Hebrew the word for “face” (pannim) is plural rather than singular. What implications might that have for how Hebrews and perhaps Nephites, too, understood the face? Another important thing about the Hebrew word for face is that it often stands for the person as a whole. (See, for example, Deut 28:50, Job 29:24, Prov 7:13, and Jer 5:3.) Does that suggest anything about what Alma is saying here?
  • Alma 5:14: Are the questions that Alma asks in these verses different questions or are they different ways of asking the same question?
  • Alma 5:14: What does it mean to be "spiritually born of God"? Is this the same as being "born again"?
  • Alma 5:14: How do we "receive" God's image in our countenance?
  • Alma 5:14: What is the connection between receiving God's image in our countenance and experiencing a mighty change in our heart?
  • Alma 5:14: Why does Alma refer to it as a change "in" our heart rather than a change "of" our heart?
  • Alma 5:15: What does it mean to "exercise faith in the redemption of him who created you"? In our modern terms, this faith in Christ or the Father?
  • Alma 5:15: What is "the redemption of him who created you"? Is this just another way of saying "The Atonement"? What is meant by this phrase?
  • Alma 5:15: What does it mean to "look forward with an eye of faith"? What is the "eye of faith"?
  • Alma 5:15: What does looking forward to the resurrection and judgment have to do with being saved?
  • Alma 5:15: What does it mean for "corruption" to be "raised in incorruption"?
  • Alma 5:15: How will we "be judged according to the deeds which have been done in the mortal body"?
  • Alma 5:16: What would it take for us to imagine that we hear God calling us blessed and calling us to him? What would it mean for God to call us "blessed"?
  • Alma 5:16: How is imagination tied to salvation? How is imagination tied to exercising faith?
  • Alma 5:16: What does it mean to "come unto" God in this way? How might that be different from how we normally talk about coming unto God?
  • Alma 5:16: If every person sins, what does it take for our works to be the works of righteousness? What are "the" works of righteousness? Does that mean all of our works are righteous, or that there is an expected subset of works that are righteous? What does righteous mean in this context?
  • Alma 5:16: What is meant by "upon the face of the earth"? Is that just another way of saying "in mortality" or is there something else implied here?
  • Alma 5:17: How does Alma contrast these two acts of imagination by use of the term "or"?
  • Alma 5:17: What does it mean to "imagine to yourselves"? Is this just another way of saying "imagine", or is there something else going on here?
  • Alma 5:17: How could anyone imagine lying to the Lord? Why does Alma bring this up?
  • Alma 5:17: If Alma imagines someone lying unto the Lord when they state that their works have been righteous works, does that imply that he imagines everyone will have to make their own statement about their own works, something that isn't mentioned in the earlier example of judgment?
  • Alma 5:17: What does this imaginative account of judgment and salvation imply about these two acts? How literally should we take this account?
  • Alma 5:17: Is salvation something that happens after resurrection and judgment, or is this just an imaginative metaphor for some other process?
  • Alma 5:18: What does it mean to be "brought before the tribunal of God"? Who is it that brings us? How are we brought?
  • Alma 5:18: What does it mean to be have your soul "filled with guilt and remorse"? Isn't this a good thing that leads to repentance?
  • Alma 5:18: What is it about the remembrance of guilt and wickedness that is damning in this situation?
  • Alma 5:18: How are we supposed to forget our guilt and memories of our wickedness?
  • Alma 5:18: What is meant by a "perfect" remembrance"? How is that different from a normal memory?
  • Alma 5:18: What does it mean to "set at defiance the commandments of God"? Is this just another way of saying "being disobedient" or is there something else going on here? What does it mean to "set at defiance"?
  • Alma 5:18: Which "commandments of God" are referred to here? Are these specific commandments, or just everything that God has said to do?
  • Alma 5:19: Why do you think Alma says that we will look up at that day? Could he possibly be suggesting that we will be on our knees, kneeling before the Lord and looking up at Him?
  • Alma 5:19: What are "a pure heart and clean hands"? Are these the same things, or two different things?
  • Alma 5:19: What does it mean for hands to be clean?
  • Alma 5:19: What does it mean for the "image of God" to be "engraven upon your countenances"? How is it "engraven"? What is our countenance?
  • Alma 5:20: What does Alma mean by "being saved"?
  • Alma 5:20: How does someone "yield themselves" to the devil? What does this imply about our use of agency?
  • Alma 5:20: What does it mean "to become subjects to the devil?"
  • Alma 5:20: Does this give us any insight into the ground of our being? Is there neutral ground, a way to avoid yielding ourselves to either God or the devil? Or are we forced to chose? Are there any neutral choices?
  • Alma 5:21: Compare what Alma says here about salvation with what he said about it in verses 10-13. Here he says that to be saved we must have our garments washed white in the blood of the Redeemer. There he says that we must have our hearts changed, humble ourselves, trust God, and remain faithful. How are those two descriptions of salvation related?
  • Alma 5:21: Cannot be saved. How does this statement compare with the idea that all mankind can be saved by grace (see Eph 2:5)?
  • Alma 5:23: Alma seems to use murder as the type of all sin. Why is it appropriate to do so?
  • Alma 5:26: Why does Alma call these people his "brethren"? Are these people of his Nephite lineage, or members of the Church, or both?
  • Alma 5:26: Why is experiencing the change of heart described as singing “the song of redeeming love"? What does the question of this verse suggest is Alma’s concern for the people of Zarahemla? How is it an appropriate question for us?
  • Alma 5:26: How is it possible to experience a change of heart, but to lose that feeling?
  • Alma 5:27: Does it make sense to understand these questions as tests we can use to answer the question, “Am I clean?”
  • Alma 5:27: Is Alma using humility and having one’s garments washed clean as parallel concepts in this verse? If not, why does he particularly mention humility?
  • Alma 5:28: What does it mean to be stripped of pride? Why are we unprepared to meet God if we are not stripped of pride?
  • Alma 5:29: What might Alma mean here by “envy"? How does envy prevent us from being in the presence of God?
  • Alma 5:30: What mockery or persecution within the Church might Alma have in mind? (Compare Alma 1:22-24—how did the contention with those outside the Church lead to excommunications?)
  • Alma 5:32: Who are the workers of iniquity? Is iniquity different from sin? Why does the verse end with “for the Lord hath spoken it"?

Resources[edit]

This section is for listing links and print resources, including those that are also cited elsewhere on this page. A short comment about the particular strengths of a resource can be helpful. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • Alma 5:26-31: Change of heart. In a 1989 Fireside address at BYU titled Come unto Christ, Elder Eyring talks about how these verses (specifically 26-31) can be use to help understand whether we have had a change of heart, i.e. whether we have repented.

Notes[edit]

Footnotes are not required but are encouraged for factual assertions that average readers cannot easily evaluate for themselves (such as the date of King Solomon’s death or the nuanced definition of a Greek word). In contrast, insights rarely benefit from footnoting, and the focus of this page should always remain on the scriptures themselves rather than what someone has said about them. Links are actively encouraged on all sections of this page, and links to authoritative sources (such as Strong's Bible Concordance or the Joseph Smith Papers) are preferable to footnotes.



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Alma 5:31-35

Home > The Book of Mormon > Alma > Chapters 4-7 > Chapter 5 > Verses 5:14-32
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This page would ideally always be under construction. You are invited to contribute.


Summary[edit]

This heading should be very brief. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Discussion[edit]

This section is for detailed discussion such as the meaning of a symbol, how a doctrinal point is developed throughout a passage, or insights that can be further developed in the future. Contributions may range from polished paragraphs down to a single bullet point. The focus, however, should always be on understanding the scriptural text consistent with LDS doctrine. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • Alma 5:14, 19: Bearing the Image of God in Our Countenance. Verses 14 and 19 suggest that we should have the image of God engraven upon our countenances. What does that mean? Literally, that we come to look like him. People should see him when they see us because we do his works and exude his spirit. This injunction is linked to the suggestion in 14 that we must be “spiritually born of God.” Children tend to look like their parents. Thus, those who are born of God, who become his sons and daughters, in the words of King Benjamin (Mosiah 5:7), will, if they are faithful, come to have the countenance of their parent, God. For more, see Image as Indwelling?.
  • Alma 5:15: The Eye of Faith. To see with the eye of faith is to interpret events with an eye to the true divine purpose of the world and our experience in it. An example of seeing with the eye of faith is found in Alma 4:3 where people saw judgments of God in their suffering. As the wiki commentary on that passage indicates, those suffering Nephites had probably not done anything to bring misfortune upon themselves. They seem to have been exceptionally righteous. But like Christ's apostles who say, "Is it I" (Matthew 26:22), they look for divine actions and judgements in their lives Though they are probably not factually correct in that instance, they were right to look for the hand of God in the world, i.e., to see with the eye of faith. When we see with the eye of faith, we may sometimes be mistaken in particulars--i.e., believe God has caused something to happen that he didn't cause--but will nevertheless get the big questions right, for God is involved with the world and does watch over and bless us in manifold ways.
  • Alma 5:14-25: Refutation of Nehor. In this passage, and then in much of what follows in this semon, Alma takes on Nehor, his principal theological adversary in Zarahemla and throughout Nephite lands. Nehor has taught the same doctrine that Satan put before us in the pre-existence: that all will be saved regardless of what they choose to do. In the pre-existence, Satan sought to destroy the agency of man by causing choices to have no consequence. Where all choices lead to the same end, the agency of man is destroyed (see exegesis for Alma 1:4). We have no power to determine our own destiny. All who come to earth rejected this doctrine in the council of heaven, but Satan hasn't given up, and the doctine we rejected in heaven has proven to be popular here on earth. Alma here labors to persuade his people that the doctrine of universal salvation is false. His sermon strongly emphasizes the main doctrinal point at issue: behavior has consequences. Nehor and his followers, like all of us, will face the eternal consequences of their behavior at the judgment bar that inevitably awaits each of us.
Thus, in verse 15, Alma emphasizes that all will "stand before God to be judged according to the deeds which have been done in the mortal body." This passage provides a valuable key for evaluating our behavior options: our choices should be guided by the value each alternative will have as we stand at judgment bar. Alternatively, we might ask how we will view what we are now doing at the moment of our death. Will it then appear to be time well spent or will we regret not having done something else with our precious time. In verses 17 and 18, Alma emphasizes that there will be no deception or self-deception at the judgment bar. We will be seen and will see ourselves as we actually are, clean or unclean. As the exegesis above on verses 14 and 19 suggests, if we are clean, we will have the countenance and image of God, will be like our parent. Alternatively, if on earth, in theory or practice, we have followed Satan's doctrine and have lived according to our fallen wills, we will be subject to Satan (verse 20) and receive a measure of his eternal punishment having chosen him rather than God as our father.
  • Alma 5:18: Set at defiance. This phrase only occurs three times in the scriptures: Alma 5:18, Alma 61:7, and 3 Ne 6:30. Its use in 3 Ne 6:30 is interesting, as it is talking about those who desire to overthrow the laws and resultant liberties of the people in order to be subject to kings--perhaps a shadow of what Alma is talking about here, with people disregarding the commandments and willing to be subject to the devil. Websters 1828 definition of defiance specifically ties it to notions of armed conflict: 1. A daring; a challenge to fight; invitation to combat; a call to an adversary to encounter, if he dare. Goliath bid defiance to the army of Israel. 2. A challenge to meet in any contest; a call upon one to make good any assertion or charge; an invitation to maintain any cause or point. 3. Contempt of opposition or danger; a daring or resistance that implies the contempt of an adversary, or of any opposing power. Men often transgress the law and act in defiance of authority.
  • Alma 5:21: The Works of Grace. Verse 15 says that we will be judged according to our works. How do we reconcile the importance of our works with the statement in verse 21 that it is only through the blood of Christ that we can be saved? The atonement is a work of Christ, not our work. If it is what saves us, how are we judged and saved according to our works? Alma’s answer—implicit in verses 20 and 21—is that our works are never really ours. We lesser spirits always take on the imprint of one of two greater spirits, either Satan (as mentioned in 20) or Christ (as mentioned in 14 and 19). So our good works are the works of grace. We derive our ability to be good and, ultimately, to be perfect from our relationship with the Savior. It is from our relationship with him that we acquire the capacity to keep all of God's commandments. To be sure, it is our choice whether we come to Christ or not. And it is our choice whether we remain engaged with him long enough to be sanctified, line upon line, precept upon precept, unto the perfect day. But the importance of our agency notwithstanding, our righteousness remains derivative. The fact that our ability to keep the commandments comes from our relationship with Christ is apparent, among other places, in the changing verbiage of the sacraments prayers.
The idea that our righteousness is derivative sits a little uncomfortably with the idea that we are uncreated and fundamentally autonomous beings with inherent capacity for choice (see D&C 93:29). But the scriptures make it quite clear that in practice, the domain of choice for us is defined by Christ and Lucifer. We fall in line with one or the other rather than charting our own independent path (see Alma 5:38-40).
  • Alma 5:23: Was Alma's Audience Full of Murderers? What are we to make of question in 23, “Will they not testify that ye are murderers?” Is Alma addressing a bunch of people who are murderers? Murder is the second greatest of all sins and proably the greatest sin an ordinary person can commit. So this is truly a rough crowd if many listening to Alma are murderers. But that is not likely. The word murder is used quite loosely in the Book of Mormon. Alma suggests that he himself has murdered many of his fellow Nephites (Alma 36:14), but it is quite clear that he is speaking metaphorically (Alma 26:14). In addition to its metaphorical application, the term is used to specify many different kinds of infractions that involve killing—e.g., everything from the culturally dictated acts of violence of the people of Ammon prior to their conversion (Alma 24:9) to the actions of cold blooded murderers who willfully of own their volition take another life. In this passage, murder probably functions as a kind of synechdoche. Alma uses the greatest possible sin an ordinary person can commit as a stand in for all unforgiven sins. Since we cannot bear to be in God's presence if guilty of even the smallest infraction of God's law, the smallest unrepented sin is equivalent to murder in its power to keep us from heaven (James 2:10). Murder is, thus, an apt synecdoche for communicating the seriousness of all sin when viewed from the divine perspective. We must not be complacent about even the smallest of our sins. The fact that others may be guilty of much worse than we cannot save us. Even the smallest infraction makes us guilty of all sin. So it is necessary for us to receive the atonement and endure to the end in our sanctifying relationship with Christ, the end being the achievment of godlike perfection through the enabling power of the atonement.
  • Alma 5:24: Another Appeal to Spiritual and Cultural Heritage. Alma opens this sermon with a reminder of the spiritual heritage these people have in the court of King Noah where Abinadi testified and at the Waters of Mormon. Here he extends that heritage back to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and subsequent prophets of the Old Testament era. Like belief in Christ, the patriarchs and prophets are part of Nephi's legasy to his people because it was he who secured the Brass Plates that preserved the people's memory of their connection to these great figures. In mentioning these figures, Alma is probably making a cultural as well as a religious appeal. The Brass Plates have long been a potent symbol of the political as well as the spiritual legitimacy of the Nephite regime. (See, for instance, how Benjamin sets up the coronation of his son Mosiah as king by first emphasizing the importance of the Brass Plates (Mosiah 1:2-8).
  • Alma 5:25: Make our Creator a liar. In other words, this thing cannot happen. Alma is one of the few prophets to suggest that God must follow certain patterns or cease to be God (see Alma 12:23, 42:13). Here, he relies on the reader's understanding of God's attributes (truthful, all-knowing) to realize how unlikely this event is.
  • Alma 5:26: The Song of Redeeming Love. According to Nibley, "the song of redeeming love was a very important part in the cult of Moses. When the people all came together, they would sing the song of redeeming love. It was part of their ritual” (The Book of Mormon, Vol 2, p. 326). This song is preserved in Revelations 15:3-4 where it is called the song of Moses. Since the Nephites still practice the Law of Moses, this ritual song would be an important part of their worship. It is an important motif in the Book of Mormon that also occurs in Alma 5:9 and Alma 26:13.
  • Alma 5:27: A Paradoxical Question. What is the correct answer to the question in verse 27: "Could ye say, if ye were called to die at this time, within yourselves, that ye have been sufficiently humble?" This sounds like a trick question. Won't both a "yes" and a "no" keep us out of heaven because either answer indicates that we lack sufficient humility? The correct answer is probably the following: "yes, I am humble because I fully understand that in and of myself, I am nothing, am totally lost. My virtue flows from Christ. What have I to boast of but his merciful grace?"
  • Alma 5:28-29: Parallel Sins of Pride and Envy. The structure of these verses suggests an underlying equivalence in the seemingly opposite sins of pride and envy. The equivalence is apparent in a combination of structural and verbal parallels between verse 28 which focuses on pride and verse 29 which focuses on envy. Identical words in the respective verses are italicized. Conceptually similar parallel ideas are bolded.
1a Behold, are ye stripped of pride?
2a I say unto you, if ye are not ye are not prepared to meet God.
3a Behold ye must prepare quickly; for the kingdom of heaven is soon at hand,
4a and such an one hath not eternal life.
1b Behold, I say, is there one among you who is not stripped of envy?
2b I say unto you that such an one is not prepared;
3b and I would that he should prepare quickly, for the hour is close at hand, and he knoweth not when the time shall come;
4b for such an one is not found guiltless.
The proud person and the envious person both exhibit the same error: each over values personal attributes or possessions that appeal to the natural man but have no eternal value. The proud person has these things and foolishly feels validated by them; the envous person doesn't have them, wishes he did, and resents those who do. They are alike in sharing the same misplaced values. Alma highlights the similarity of the two sins.
A number of verses in the Book of Mormon link clothing with pride (e.g., Alma 5:53, 4 Nephi 1:24). Alma 1:6 says Nehor, Alma's principle theological nemesis, "began to be lifted up in the pride of his heart, and to wear very costly apparel." In light of that connection between pride and clothing, the clothing metaphors in this section of Alma's sermon probably represent part of the ongoing refutation of Nehor. Followers of Christ are stripped of pride (verse 28) and envy (verse 29). In place of that false finery, they clothe themselves in simpler, unpretentious but beautiful garments that are "cleansed and made white through the blood of Christ" (verse 27).
  • Alma 5:30-31: Persecuting the Poor. A common theme in the Book of Mormon is how prosperous people persecute the poor, how even members of Church begin to persecute the poor as they become wealthy--in spite of a strict law that there be no persecution by members of the Church {Alma 1:21). What form does this persecution take? Alma 4:12 focuses on neglect of the poor which is wrong, but neglect is not persecution. Persecution requires an active focus on the victim. Alma 5:30 may provide the answer to this question about persecution. It links persecution with mockery. So the persecution alluded to is probably snobbery with associated ridicule or mockery of the poor because they lack fashionable possessions. Alma 1:21 says the Church had a strict law that there be no persecution by members of Church. Adults and youth (who may be especially prone to engage in this behavior) must understand that it is a grave sin to despise others and put them down because they lack fashionable possessions. Verse 31 tells us that if we indulge in this sin, we cannot be saved.

Unanswered questions[edit]

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Prompts for life application[edit]

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Prompts for further study[edit]

This section is for prompts that invite us to think about a passage more deeply or in a new way. These are not necessarily questions that beg for answers, but rather prompts along the lines of "Have you ever thought about ..." Prompts are most helpful when they are developed individually, thoughtfully, and with enough background information to clearly indicate a particular direction for further study or thought. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • Alma 5:14: What does “receive his image in your countenances” mean? Does it have anything to do with Gen 1:27: “God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them"? If we have already been created in the image of God, how can Alma ask whether those in Zarahemla have received that image? How is Alma’s teaching related to the teaching of 1 Jn 3:2: “Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.”
  • Alma 5:14: Just how close the connection is between Hebrew and the language of the Nephites is a matter of conjecture. Normally we would expect a good deal of language change in the 500 years since Lehi’s family arrived in the New World. However, if Hebrew is the priestly language of the plates rather than the everyday language of the Nephites, it may not have changed very much. If so, we can draw some tentative conclusions about Book of Mormon language from what we know about Hebrew. Perhaps the first thing to notice is that in Hebrew the word for “face” (pannim) is plural rather than singular. What implications might that have for how Hebrews and perhaps Nephites, too, understood the face? Another important thing about the Hebrew word for face is that it often stands for the person as a whole. (See, for example, Deut 28:50, Job 29:24, Prov 7:13, and Jer 5:3.) Does that suggest anything about what Alma is saying here?
  • Alma 5:14: Are the questions that Alma asks in these verses different questions or are they different ways of asking the same question?
  • Alma 5:14: What does it mean to be "spiritually born of God"? Is this the same as being "born again"?
  • Alma 5:14: How do we "receive" God's image in our countenance?
  • Alma 5:14: What is the connection between receiving God's image in our countenance and experiencing a mighty change in our heart?
  • Alma 5:14: Why does Alma refer to it as a change "in" our heart rather than a change "of" our heart?
  • Alma 5:15: What does it mean to "exercise faith in the redemption of him who created you"? In our modern terms, this faith in Christ or the Father?
  • Alma 5:15: What is "the redemption of him who created you"? Is this just another way of saying "The Atonement"? What is meant by this phrase?
  • Alma 5:15: What does it mean to "look forward with an eye of faith"? What is the "eye of faith"?
  • Alma 5:15: What does looking forward to the resurrection and judgment have to do with being saved?
  • Alma 5:15: What does it mean for "corruption" to be "raised in incorruption"?
  • Alma 5:15: How will we "be judged according to the deeds which have been done in the mortal body"?
  • Alma 5:16: What would it take for us to imagine that we hear God calling us blessed and calling us to him? What would it mean for God to call us "blessed"?
  • Alma 5:16: How is imagination tied to salvation? How is imagination tied to exercising faith?
  • Alma 5:16: What does it mean to "come unto" God in this way? How might that be different from how we normally talk about coming unto God?
  • Alma 5:16: If every person sins, what does it take for our works to be the works of righteousness? What are "the" works of righteousness? Does that mean all of our works are righteous, or that there is an expected subset of works that are righteous? What does righteous mean in this context?
  • Alma 5:16: What is meant by "upon the face of the earth"? Is that just another way of saying "in mortality" or is there something else implied here?
  • Alma 5:17: How does Alma contrast these two acts of imagination by use of the term "or"?
  • Alma 5:17: What does it mean to "imagine to yourselves"? Is this just another way of saying "imagine", or is there something else going on here?
  • Alma 5:17: How could anyone imagine lying to the Lord? Why does Alma bring this up?
  • Alma 5:17: If Alma imagines someone lying unto the Lord when they state that their works have been righteous works, does that imply that he imagines everyone will have to make their own statement about their own works, something that isn't mentioned in the earlier example of judgment?
  • Alma 5:17: What does this imaginative account of judgment and salvation imply about these two acts? How literally should we take this account?
  • Alma 5:17: Is salvation something that happens after resurrection and judgment, or is this just an imaginative metaphor for some other process?
  • Alma 5:18: What does it mean to be "brought before the tribunal of God"? Who is it that brings us? How are we brought?
  • Alma 5:18: What does it mean to be have your soul "filled with guilt and remorse"? Isn't this a good thing that leads to repentance?
  • Alma 5:18: What is it about the remembrance of guilt and wickedness that is damning in this situation?
  • Alma 5:18: How are we supposed to forget our guilt and memories of our wickedness?
  • Alma 5:18: What is meant by a "perfect" remembrance"? How is that different from a normal memory?
  • Alma 5:18: What does it mean to "set at defiance the commandments of God"? Is this just another way of saying "being disobedient" or is there something else going on here? What does it mean to "set at defiance"?
  • Alma 5:18: Which "commandments of God" are referred to here? Are these specific commandments, or just everything that God has said to do?
  • Alma 5:19: Why do you think Alma says that we will look up at that day? Could he possibly be suggesting that we will be on our knees, kneeling before the Lord and looking up at Him?
  • Alma 5:19: What are "a pure heart and clean hands"? Are these the same things, or two different things?
  • Alma 5:19: What does it mean for hands to be clean?
  • Alma 5:19: What does it mean for the "image of God" to be "engraven upon your countenances"? How is it "engraven"? What is our countenance?
  • Alma 5:20: What does Alma mean by "being saved"?
  • Alma 5:20: How does someone "yield themselves" to the devil? What does this imply about our use of agency?
  • Alma 5:20: What does it mean "to become subjects to the devil?"
  • Alma 5:20: Does this give us any insight into the ground of our being? Is there neutral ground, a way to avoid yielding ourselves to either God or the devil? Or are we forced to chose? Are there any neutral choices?
  • Alma 5:21: Compare what Alma says here about salvation with what he said about it in verses 10-13. Here he says that to be saved we must have our garments washed white in the blood of the Redeemer. There he says that we must have our hearts changed, humble ourselves, trust God, and remain faithful. How are those two descriptions of salvation related?
  • Alma 5:21: Cannot be saved. How does this statement compare with the idea that all mankind can be saved by grace (see Eph 2:5)?
  • Alma 5:23: Alma seems to use murder as the type of all sin. Why is it appropriate to do so?
  • Alma 5:26: Why does Alma call these people his "brethren"? Are these people of his Nephite lineage, or members of the Church, or both?
  • Alma 5:26: Why is experiencing the change of heart described as singing “the song of redeeming love"? What does the question of this verse suggest is Alma’s concern for the people of Zarahemla? How is it an appropriate question for us?
  • Alma 5:26: How is it possible to experience a change of heart, but to lose that feeling?
  • Alma 5:27: Does it make sense to understand these questions as tests we can use to answer the question, “Am I clean?”
  • Alma 5:27: Is Alma using humility and having one’s garments washed clean as parallel concepts in this verse? If not, why does he particularly mention humility?
  • Alma 5:28: What does it mean to be stripped of pride? Why are we unprepared to meet God if we are not stripped of pride?
  • Alma 5:29: What might Alma mean here by “envy"? How does envy prevent us from being in the presence of God?
  • Alma 5:30: What mockery or persecution within the Church might Alma have in mind? (Compare Alma 1:22-24—how did the contention with those outside the Church lead to excommunications?)
  • Alma 5:32: Who are the workers of iniquity? Is iniquity different from sin? Why does the verse end with “for the Lord hath spoken it"?

Resources[edit]

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  • Alma 5:26-31: Change of heart. In a 1989 Fireside address at BYU titled Come unto Christ, Elder Eyring talks about how these verses (specifically 26-31) can be use to help understand whether we have had a change of heart, i.e. whether we have repented.

Notes[edit]

Footnotes are not required but are encouraged for factual assertions that average readers cannot easily evaluate for themselves (such as the date of King Solomon’s death or the nuanced definition of a Greek word). In contrast, insights rarely benefit from footnoting, and the focus of this page should always remain on the scriptures themselves rather than what someone has said about them. Links are actively encouraged on all sections of this page, and links to authoritative sources (such as Strong's Bible Concordance or the Joseph Smith Papers) are preferable to footnotes.



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Alma 5:36-40

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Summary[edit]

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Discussion[edit]

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  • Alma 5:44: Called to speak. Those who hold the calling of high priest are expressly required to teach and warn the people (see Alma 13:2,6).
In this chapter Alma warns the people of Zarahemla of the punishment that is to come for the sinner and tells the people that they can be saved through repentance through Jesus Christ. In verse 44 Alma tells the people that he is commanded to testify of the things which are to come. By "things which are to come" it seems that Alma is principally referring to the punishment of the sinner (e.g. verses 36 and 52) and the coming of Jesus Christ to save us from our sins (see verse 48).
  • Alma 5:49-50: Expanding Audience for Sermon. Commeting on these verses on page 122 of Feasting Upon the Word (a book, not this wiki), Richard Dilworth Rust says the following about Alma's specification of his intended audience:
“In a message frequently personalized by reference to ‘you,’ Alma also amplifies his audience from ‘my beloved brethren’ to everyone in the land—from ‘you the aged, and also the middle aged, and the rising generation’ to ‘all the ends of the earth’ (Alma 5: 49 – 50). The effect is the one achieved in essentially every Book of Mormon sermon—an immediate application to the modern-day reader.”
  • Alma 5:59-60: Destroy Satan's Wolves. Implicit in these verses is a parallel betweeen a divine being (Christ) who shepherds a flock of sheep (Christians) and a diabolical being (Satan) who commands a pack of wolves (anti-Christs). Implicit, too, is a justification of Alma's execution of Nehor. Nehor was undoubtedly one of Satan's wolves. Alma, the earthly shepherd of this church flock, has used the power of the state that was at his command to destroy the wolf that threatened his flock. Politically, Alma quite clearly did not do the right thing (see exegesis on Alma 1). Morally, the issue is more ambiguous. It is sometimes better that one man perish than that an entire nation dwindle and perish in unbelief. But that principle can be applied both justly (1 Nephi 4:15) and unjustly (John 11:50). Mormon certainly thinks that Alma was justified in eliminating Nehor as he did, and given his general uprightness, it is quite likely that Alma was morally justified in acting as he did. But we probably should be troubled by that episode and this talk about destroying the wolves who are, after all, fellow children of God, however misguided.

Unanswered questions[edit]

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Prompts for life application[edit]

This section is for prompts that suggest ways in which a passage can influence a person's life. Prompts may be appropriate either for private self reflection or for a class discussion. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Prompts for further study[edit]

This section is for prompts that invite us to think about a passage more deeply or in a new way. These are not necessarily questions that beg for answers, but rather prompts along the lines of "Have you ever thought about ..." Prompts are most helpful when they are developed individually, thoughtfully, and with enough background information to clearly indicate a particular direction for further study or thought. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • Alma 5:33: Is it significant that the Lord offers an invitation rather than a demand? Why do we have to repent in order for him to receive us?
  • Alma 5:33: What are the "arms of mercy"? What does it mean for them to be extended towards us?
  • Alma 5:34: From where do the images that Alma uses in these verses come? What do those scriptures have to do with Alma’s message?
  • Alma 5:34: We are often told that the tree of life is Jesus Christ. Is this verse talking about how we should partake of the "fruit" of Christ, or in other words, the scriptures? What is it talking about here?
  • Alma 5:38: What does it mean that Christ calls us in his own name? It doesn't seem the same as saying that Christ calls us by his own name. Is Christ calling on us in Christ's own name related to how we call on God in Christ's name?
  • Alma 5:40-41: What does it mean to be a child of the devil? Does that tell us anything about what it means to be a child of God and the Good Shepherd?
  • Alma 5:42: The scriptures sometimes speak, as Alma does here, of the wages of sin. (See, for example, Rom 6:23.) Why don’t they speak of the wages of righteousness?
  • Alma 5:43-44: Does v. 44 tell us what it means to speak plainly—to testify—or does Alma speak plainly because he has been called to testify?
  • Alma 5:46: To what does the phrase “these things” here and v. 45 refer? Is their antecedent in v. 44? How does Alma’s testimony that he has fasted and prayed many days to know these things square with the story of his conversion (see Mosiah 27:8-32 and Alma 36:6-23), in which he seems to have gained a testimony quickly and without fasting and prayer?
  • Alma 5:47: What particular words of the fathers does Alma have in mind? Does the context answer that question?
  • Alma 5:53-55: What are the sins of the people of Zarahemla? Are our sins today the same, or do we have different problems?
  • Alma 5:54: What is meant by works meet for repentance? Alms uses this phrase a couple more times over the next few chapters when preaching to the wicked parts of the Nephites. One time he uses the phrase 'fruits meet for repentance'. Again, what is meant by this?
  • Alma 5:57: How do we come out from the wicked? How do we avoid touching their unclean things? Does coming out from among them and not touching their unclean things mean that we dissociate ourselves from them? If so, how can we do missionary work among them? If not, how do we separate ourselves?

Resources[edit]

This section is for listing links and print resources, including those that are also cited elsewhere on this page. A short comment about the particular strengths of a resource can be helpful. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • Alma 5:39: Child of the devil. See this article by John Tvedtnes on the possible origins of the phrase "child of the devil."

Notes[edit]

Footnotes are not required but are encouraged for factual assertions that average readers cannot easily evaluate for themselves (such as the date of King Solomon’s death or the nuanced definition of a Greek word). In contrast, insights rarely benefit from footnoting, and the focus of this page should always remain on the scriptures themselves rather than what someone has said about them. Links are actively encouraged on all sections of this page, and links to authoritative sources (such as Strong's Bible Concordance or the Joseph Smith Papers) are preferable to footnotes.



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Alma 5:41-45

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Summary[edit]

This heading should be very brief. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Discussion[edit]

This section is for detailed discussion such as the meaning of a symbol, how a doctrinal point is developed throughout a passage, or insights that can be further developed in the future. Contributions may range from polished paragraphs down to a single bullet point. The focus, however, should always be on understanding the scriptural text consistent with LDS doctrine. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • Alma 5:44: Called to speak. Those who hold the calling of high priest are expressly required to teach and warn the people (see Alma 13:2,6).
In this chapter Alma warns the people of Zarahemla of the punishment that is to come for the sinner and tells the people that they can be saved through repentance through Jesus Christ. In verse 44 Alma tells the people that he is commanded to testify of the things which are to come. By "things which are to come" it seems that Alma is principally referring to the punishment of the sinner (e.g. verses 36 and 52) and the coming of Jesus Christ to save us from our sins (see verse 48).
  • Alma 5:49-50: Expanding Audience for Sermon. Commeting on these verses on page 122 of Feasting Upon the Word (a book, not this wiki), Richard Dilworth Rust says the following about Alma's specification of his intended audience:
“In a message frequently personalized by reference to ‘you,’ Alma also amplifies his audience from ‘my beloved brethren’ to everyone in the land—from ‘you the aged, and also the middle aged, and the rising generation’ to ‘all the ends of the earth’ (Alma 5: 49 – 50). The effect is the one achieved in essentially every Book of Mormon sermon—an immediate application to the modern-day reader.”
  • Alma 5:59-60: Destroy Satan's Wolves. Implicit in these verses is a parallel betweeen a divine being (Christ) who shepherds a flock of sheep (Christians) and a diabolical being (Satan) who commands a pack of wolves (anti-Christs). Implicit, too, is a justification of Alma's execution of Nehor. Nehor was undoubtedly one of Satan's wolves. Alma, the earthly shepherd of this church flock, has used the power of the state that was at his command to destroy the wolf that threatened his flock. Politically, Alma quite clearly did not do the right thing (see exegesis on Alma 1). Morally, the issue is more ambiguous. It is sometimes better that one man perish than that an entire nation dwindle and perish in unbelief. But that principle can be applied both justly (1 Nephi 4:15) and unjustly (John 11:50). Mormon certainly thinks that Alma was justified in eliminating Nehor as he did, and given his general uprightness, it is quite likely that Alma was morally justified in acting as he did. But we probably should be troubled by that episode and this talk about destroying the wolves who are, after all, fellow children of God, however misguided.

Unanswered questions[edit]

This section is for questions along the lines of "I still don't understand ..." Please do not be shy. The point of these questions is to identify things that still need to be addressed on this page. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Prompts for life application[edit]

This section is for prompts that suggest ways in which a passage can influence a person's life. Prompts may be appropriate either for private self reflection or for a class discussion. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Prompts for further study[edit]

This section is for prompts that invite us to think about a passage more deeply or in a new way. These are not necessarily questions that beg for answers, but rather prompts along the lines of "Have you ever thought about ..." Prompts are most helpful when they are developed individually, thoughtfully, and with enough background information to clearly indicate a particular direction for further study or thought. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • Alma 5:33: Is it significant that the Lord offers an invitation rather than a demand? Why do we have to repent in order for him to receive us?
  • Alma 5:33: What are the "arms of mercy"? What does it mean for them to be extended towards us?
  • Alma 5:34: From where do the images that Alma uses in these verses come? What do those scriptures have to do with Alma’s message?
  • Alma 5:34: We are often told that the tree of life is Jesus Christ. Is this verse talking about how we should partake of the "fruit" of Christ, or in other words, the scriptures? What is it talking about here?
  • Alma 5:38: What does it mean that Christ calls us in his own name? It doesn't seem the same as saying that Christ calls us by his own name. Is Christ calling on us in Christ's own name related to how we call on God in Christ's name?
  • Alma 5:40-41: What does it mean to be a child of the devil? Does that tell us anything about what it means to be a child of God and the Good Shepherd?
  • Alma 5:42: The scriptures sometimes speak, as Alma does here, of the wages of sin. (See, for example, Rom 6:23.) Why don’t they speak of the wages of righteousness?
  • Alma 5:43-44: Does v. 44 tell us what it means to speak plainly—to testify—or does Alma speak plainly because he has been called to testify?
  • Alma 5:46: To what does the phrase “these things” here and v. 45 refer? Is their antecedent in v. 44? How does Alma’s testimony that he has fasted and prayed many days to know these things square with the story of his conversion (see Mosiah 27:8-32 and Alma 36:6-23), in which he seems to have gained a testimony quickly and without fasting and prayer?
  • Alma 5:47: What particular words of the fathers does Alma have in mind? Does the context answer that question?
  • Alma 5:53-55: What are the sins of the people of Zarahemla? Are our sins today the same, or do we have different problems?
  • Alma 5:54: What is meant by works meet for repentance? Alms uses this phrase a couple more times over the next few chapters when preaching to the wicked parts of the Nephites. One time he uses the phrase 'fruits meet for repentance'. Again, what is meant by this?
  • Alma 5:57: How do we come out from the wicked? How do we avoid touching their unclean things? Does coming out from among them and not touching their unclean things mean that we dissociate ourselves from them? If so, how can we do missionary work among them? If not, how do we separate ourselves?

Resources[edit]

This section is for listing links and print resources, including those that are also cited elsewhere on this page. A short comment about the particular strengths of a resource can be helpful. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • Alma 5:39: Child of the devil. See this article by John Tvedtnes on the possible origins of the phrase "child of the devil."

Notes[edit]

Footnotes are not required but are encouraged for factual assertions that average readers cannot easily evaluate for themselves (such as the date of King Solomon’s death or the nuanced definition of a Greek word). In contrast, insights rarely benefit from footnoting, and the focus of this page should always remain on the scriptures themselves rather than what someone has said about them. Links are actively encouraged on all sections of this page, and links to authoritative sources (such as Strong's Bible Concordance or the Joseph Smith Papers) are preferable to footnotes.



Previous page: Verses 5:14-32                      Next page: Chapter 6

Alma 5:46-50

Home > The Book of Mormon > Alma > Chapters 4-7 > Chapter 5 > Verses 5:33-62
Previous page: Verses 5:14-32                      Next page: Chapter 6


This page would ideally always be under construction. You are invited to contribute.


Summary[edit]

This heading should be very brief. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Discussion[edit]

This section is for detailed discussion such as the meaning of a symbol, how a doctrinal point is developed throughout a passage, or insights that can be further developed in the future. Contributions may range from polished paragraphs down to a single bullet point. The focus, however, should always be on understanding the scriptural text consistent with LDS doctrine. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • Alma 5:44: Called to speak. Those who hold the calling of high priest are expressly required to teach and warn the people (see Alma 13:2,6).
In this chapter Alma warns the people of Zarahemla of the punishment that is to come for the sinner and tells the people that they can be saved through repentance through Jesus Christ. In verse 44 Alma tells the people that he is commanded to testify of the things which are to come. By "things which are to come" it seems that Alma is principally referring to the punishment of the sinner (e.g. verses 36 and 52) and the coming of Jesus Christ to save us from our sins (see verse 48).
  • Alma 5:49-50: Expanding Audience for Sermon. Commeting on these verses on page 122 of Feasting Upon the Word (a book, not this wiki), Richard Dilworth Rust says the following about Alma's specification of his intended audience:
“In a message frequently personalized by reference to ‘you,’ Alma also amplifies his audience from ‘my beloved brethren’ to everyone in the land—from ‘you the aged, and also the middle aged, and the rising generation’ to ‘all the ends of the earth’ (Alma 5: 49 – 50). The effect is the one achieved in essentially every Book of Mormon sermon—an immediate application to the modern-day reader.”
  • Alma 5:59-60: Destroy Satan's Wolves. Implicit in these verses is a parallel betweeen a divine being (Christ) who shepherds a flock of sheep (Christians) and a diabolical being (Satan) who commands a pack of wolves (anti-Christs). Implicit, too, is a justification of Alma's execution of Nehor. Nehor was undoubtedly one of Satan's wolves. Alma, the earthly shepherd of this church flock, has used the power of the state that was at his command to destroy the wolf that threatened his flock. Politically, Alma quite clearly did not do the right thing (see exegesis on Alma 1). Morally, the issue is more ambiguous. It is sometimes better that one man perish than that an entire nation dwindle and perish in unbelief. But that principle can be applied both justly (1 Nephi 4:15) and unjustly (John 11:50). Mormon certainly thinks that Alma was justified in eliminating Nehor as he did, and given his general uprightness, it is quite likely that Alma was morally justified in acting as he did. But we probably should be troubled by that episode and this talk about destroying the wolves who are, after all, fellow children of God, however misguided.

Unanswered questions[edit]

This section is for questions along the lines of "I still don't understand ..." Please do not be shy. The point of these questions is to identify things that still need to be addressed on this page. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Prompts for life application[edit]

This section is for prompts that suggest ways in which a passage can influence a person's life. Prompts may be appropriate either for private self reflection or for a class discussion. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Prompts for further study[edit]

This section is for prompts that invite us to think about a passage more deeply or in a new way. These are not necessarily questions that beg for answers, but rather prompts along the lines of "Have you ever thought about ..." Prompts are most helpful when they are developed individually, thoughtfully, and with enough background information to clearly indicate a particular direction for further study or thought. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • Alma 5:33: Is it significant that the Lord offers an invitation rather than a demand? Why do we have to repent in order for him to receive us?
  • Alma 5:33: What are the "arms of mercy"? What does it mean for them to be extended towards us?
  • Alma 5:34: From where do the images that Alma uses in these verses come? What do those scriptures have to do with Alma’s message?
  • Alma 5:34: We are often told that the tree of life is Jesus Christ. Is this verse talking about how we should partake of the "fruit" of Christ, or in other words, the scriptures? What is it talking about here?
  • Alma 5:38: What does it mean that Christ calls us in his own name? It doesn't seem the same as saying that Christ calls us by his own name. Is Christ calling on us in Christ's own name related to how we call on God in Christ's name?
  • Alma 5:40-41: What does it mean to be a child of the devil? Does that tell us anything about what it means to be a child of God and the Good Shepherd?
  • Alma 5:42: The scriptures sometimes speak, as Alma does here, of the wages of sin. (See, for example, Rom 6:23.) Why don’t they speak of the wages of righteousness?
  • Alma 5:43-44: Does v. 44 tell us what it means to speak plainly—to testify—or does Alma speak plainly because he has been called to testify?
  • Alma 5:46: To what does the phrase “these things” here and v. 45 refer? Is their antecedent in v. 44? How does Alma’s testimony that he has fasted and prayed many days to know these things square with the story of his conversion (see Mosiah 27:8-32 and Alma 36:6-23), in which he seems to have gained a testimony quickly and without fasting and prayer?
  • Alma 5:47: What particular words of the fathers does Alma have in mind? Does the context answer that question?
  • Alma 5:53-55: What are the sins of the people of Zarahemla? Are our sins today the same, or do we have different problems?
  • Alma 5:54: What is meant by works meet for repentance? Alms uses this phrase a couple more times over the next few chapters when preaching to the wicked parts of the Nephites. One time he uses the phrase 'fruits meet for repentance'. Again, what is meant by this?
  • Alma 5:57: How do we come out from the wicked? How do we avoid touching their unclean things? Does coming out from among them and not touching their unclean things mean that we dissociate ourselves from them? If so, how can we do missionary work among them? If not, how do we separate ourselves?

Resources[edit]

This section is for listing links and print resources, including those that are also cited elsewhere on this page. A short comment about the particular strengths of a resource can be helpful. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • Alma 5:39: Child of the devil. See this article by John Tvedtnes on the possible origins of the phrase "child of the devil."

Notes[edit]

Footnotes are not required but are encouraged for factual assertions that average readers cannot easily evaluate for themselves (such as the date of King Solomon’s death or the nuanced definition of a Greek word). In contrast, insights rarely benefit from footnoting, and the focus of this page should always remain on the scriptures themselves rather than what someone has said about them. Links are actively encouraged on all sections of this page, and links to authoritative sources (such as Strong's Bible Concordance or the Joseph Smith Papers) are preferable to footnotes.



Previous page: Verses 5:14-32                      Next page: Chapter 6

Alma 5:51-55

Home > The Book of Mormon > Alma > Chapters 4-7 > Chapter 5 > Verses 5:33-62
Previous page: Verses 5:14-32                      Next page: Chapter 6


This page would ideally always be under construction. You are invited to contribute.


Summary[edit]

This heading should be very brief. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Discussion[edit]

This section is for detailed discussion such as the meaning of a symbol, how a doctrinal point is developed throughout a passage, or insights that can be further developed in the future. Contributions may range from polished paragraphs down to a single bullet point. The focus, however, should always be on understanding the scriptural text consistent with LDS doctrine. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • Alma 5:44: Called to speak. Those who hold the calling of high priest are expressly required to teach and warn the people (see Alma 13:2,6).
In this chapter Alma warns the people of Zarahemla of the punishment that is to come for the sinner and tells the people that they can be saved through repentance through Jesus Christ. In verse 44 Alma tells the people that he is commanded to testify of the things which are to come. By "things which are to come" it seems that Alma is principally referring to the punishment of the sinner (e.g. verses 36 and 52) and the coming of Jesus Christ to save us from our sins (see verse 48).
  • Alma 5:49-50: Expanding Audience for Sermon. Commeting on these verses on page 122 of Feasting Upon the Word (a book, not this wiki), Richard Dilworth Rust says the following about Alma's specification of his intended audience:
“In a message frequently personalized by reference to ‘you,’ Alma also amplifies his audience from ‘my beloved brethren’ to everyone in the land—from ‘you the aged, and also the middle aged, and the rising generation’ to ‘all the ends of the earth’ (Alma 5: 49 – 50). The effect is the one achieved in essentially every Book of Mormon sermon—an immediate application to the modern-day reader.”
  • Alma 5:59-60: Destroy Satan's Wolves. Implicit in these verses is a parallel betweeen a divine being (Christ) who shepherds a flock of sheep (Christians) and a diabolical being (Satan) who commands a pack of wolves (anti-Christs). Implicit, too, is a justification of Alma's execution of Nehor. Nehor was undoubtedly one of Satan's wolves. Alma, the earthly shepherd of this church flock, has used the power of the state that was at his command to destroy the wolf that threatened his flock. Politically, Alma quite clearly did not do the right thing (see exegesis on Alma 1). Morally, the issue is more ambiguous. It is sometimes better that one man perish than that an entire nation dwindle and perish in unbelief. But that principle can be applied both justly (1 Nephi 4:15) and unjustly (John 11:50). Mormon certainly thinks that Alma was justified in eliminating Nehor as he did, and given his general uprightness, it is quite likely that Alma was morally justified in acting as he did. But we probably should be troubled by that episode and this talk about destroying the wolves who are, after all, fellow children of God, however misguided.

Unanswered questions[edit]

This section is for questions along the lines of "I still don't understand ..." Please do not be shy. The point of these questions is to identify things that still need to be addressed on this page. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Prompts for life application[edit]

This section is for prompts that suggest ways in which a passage can influence a person's life. Prompts may be appropriate either for private self reflection or for a class discussion. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Prompts for further study[edit]

This section is for prompts that invite us to think about a passage more deeply or in a new way. These are not necessarily questions that beg for answers, but rather prompts along the lines of "Have you ever thought about ..." Prompts are most helpful when they are developed individually, thoughtfully, and with enough background information to clearly indicate a particular direction for further study or thought. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • Alma 5:33: Is it significant that the Lord offers an invitation rather than a demand? Why do we have to repent in order for him to receive us?
  • Alma 5:33: What are the "arms of mercy"? What does it mean for them to be extended towards us?
  • Alma 5:34: From where do the images that Alma uses in these verses come? What do those scriptures have to do with Alma’s message?
  • Alma 5:34: We are often told that the tree of life is Jesus Christ. Is this verse talking about how we should partake of the "fruit" of Christ, or in other words, the scriptures? What is it talking about here?
  • Alma 5:38: What does it mean that Christ calls us in his own name? It doesn't seem the same as saying that Christ calls us by his own name. Is Christ calling on us in Christ's own name related to how we call on God in Christ's name?
  • Alma 5:40-41: What does it mean to be a child of the devil? Does that tell us anything about what it means to be a child of God and the Good Shepherd?
  • Alma 5:42: The scriptures sometimes speak, as Alma does here, of the wages of sin. (See, for example, Rom 6:23.) Why don’t they speak of the wages of righteousness?
  • Alma 5:43-44: Does v. 44 tell us what it means to speak plainly—to testify—or does Alma speak plainly because he has been called to testify?
  • Alma 5:46: To what does the phrase “these things” here and v. 45 refer? Is their antecedent in v. 44? How does Alma’s testimony that he has fasted and prayed many days to know these things square with the story of his conversion (see Mosiah 27:8-32 and Alma 36:6-23), in which he seems to have gained a testimony quickly and without fasting and prayer?
  • Alma 5:47: What particular words of the fathers does Alma have in mind? Does the context answer that question?
  • Alma 5:53-55: What are the sins of the people of Zarahemla? Are our sins today the same, or do we have different problems?
  • Alma 5:54: What is meant by works meet for repentance? Alms uses this phrase a couple more times over the next few chapters when preaching to the wicked parts of the Nephites. One time he uses the phrase 'fruits meet for repentance'. Again, what is meant by this?
  • Alma 5:57: How do we come out from the wicked? How do we avoid touching their unclean things? Does coming out from among them and not touching their unclean things mean that we dissociate ourselves from them? If so, how can we do missionary work among them? If not, how do we separate ourselves?

Resources[edit]

This section is for listing links and print resources, including those that are also cited elsewhere on this page. A short comment about the particular strengths of a resource can be helpful. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • Alma 5:39: Child of the devil. See this article by John Tvedtnes on the possible origins of the phrase "child of the devil."

Notes[edit]

Footnotes are not required but are encouraged for factual assertions that average readers cannot easily evaluate for themselves (such as the date of King Solomon’s death or the nuanced definition of a Greek word). In contrast, insights rarely benefit from footnoting, and the focus of this page should always remain on the scriptures themselves rather than what someone has said about them. Links are actively encouraged on all sections of this page, and links to authoritative sources (such as Strong's Bible Concordance or the Joseph Smith Papers) are preferable to footnotes.



Previous page: Verses 5:14-32                      Next page: Chapter 6

Alma 5:56-62

Home > The Book of Mormon > Alma > Chapters 4-7 > Chapter 5 > Verses 5:33-62
Previous page: Verses 5:14-32                      Next page: Chapter 6


This page would ideally always be under construction. You are invited to contribute.


Summary[edit]

This heading should be very brief. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Discussion[edit]

This section is for detailed discussion such as the meaning of a symbol, how a doctrinal point is developed throughout a passage, or insights that can be further developed in the future. Contributions may range from polished paragraphs down to a single bullet point. The focus, however, should always be on understanding the scriptural text consistent with LDS doctrine. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • Alma 5:44: Called to speak. Those who hold the calling of high priest are expressly required to teach and warn the people (see Alma 13:2,6).
In this chapter Alma warns the people of Zarahemla of the punishment that is to come for the sinner and tells the people that they can be saved through repentance through Jesus Christ. In verse 44 Alma tells the people that he is commanded to testify of the things which are to come. By "things which are to come" it seems that Alma is principally referring to the punishment of the sinner (e.g. verses 36 and 52) and the coming of Jesus Christ to save us from our sins (see verse 48).
  • Alma 5:49-50: Expanding Audience for Sermon. Commeting on these verses on page 122 of Feasting Upon the Word (a book, not this wiki), Richard Dilworth Rust says the following about Alma's specification of his intended audience:
“In a message frequently personalized by reference to ‘you,’ Alma also amplifies his audience from ‘my beloved brethren’ to everyone in the land—from ‘you the aged, and also the middle aged, and the rising generation’ to ‘all the ends of the earth’ (Alma 5: 49 – 50). The effect is the one achieved in essentially every Book of Mormon sermon—an immediate application to the modern-day reader.”
  • Alma 5:59-60: Destroy Satan's Wolves. Implicit in these verses is a parallel betweeen a divine being (Christ) who shepherds a flock of sheep (Christians) and a diabolical being (Satan) who commands a pack of wolves (anti-Christs). Implicit, too, is a justification of Alma's execution of Nehor. Nehor was undoubtedly one of Satan's wolves. Alma, the earthly shepherd of this church flock, has used the power of the state that was at his command to destroy the wolf that threatened his flock. Politically, Alma quite clearly did not do the right thing (see exegesis on Alma 1). Morally, the issue is more ambiguous. It is sometimes better that one man perish than that an entire nation dwindle and perish in unbelief. But that principle can be applied both justly (1 Nephi 4:15) and unjustly (John 11:50). Mormon certainly thinks that Alma was justified in eliminating Nehor as he did, and given his general uprightness, it is quite likely that Alma was morally justified in acting as he did. But we probably should be troubled by that episode and this talk about destroying the wolves who are, after all, fellow children of God, however misguided.

Unanswered questions[edit]

This section is for questions along the lines of "I still don't understand ..." Please do not be shy. The point of these questions is to identify things that still need to be addressed on this page. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Prompts for life application[edit]

This section is for prompts that suggest ways in which a passage can influence a person's life. Prompts may be appropriate either for private self reflection or for a class discussion. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Prompts for further study[edit]

This section is for prompts that invite us to think about a passage more deeply or in a new way. These are not necessarily questions that beg for answers, but rather prompts along the lines of "Have you ever thought about ..." Prompts are most helpful when they are developed individually, thoughtfully, and with enough background information to clearly indicate a particular direction for further study or thought. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • Alma 5:33: Is it significant that the Lord offers an invitation rather than a demand? Why do we have to repent in order for him to receive us?
  • Alma 5:33: What are the "arms of mercy"? What does it mean for them to be extended towards us?
  • Alma 5:34: From where do the images that Alma uses in these verses come? What do those scriptures have to do with Alma’s message?
  • Alma 5:34: We are often told that the tree of life is Jesus Christ. Is this verse talking about how we should partake of the "fruit" of Christ, or in other words, the scriptures? What is it talking about here?
  • Alma 5:38: What does it mean that Christ calls us in his own name? It doesn't seem the same as saying that Christ calls us by his own name. Is Christ calling on us in Christ's own name related to how we call on God in Christ's name?
  • Alma 5:40-41: What does it mean to be a child of the devil? Does that tell us anything about what it means to be a child of God and the Good Shepherd?
  • Alma 5:42: The scriptures sometimes speak, as Alma does here, of the wages of sin. (See, for example, Rom 6:23.) Why don’t they speak of the wages of righteousness?
  • Alma 5:43-44: Does v. 44 tell us what it means to speak plainly—to testify—or does Alma speak plainly because he has been called to testify?
  • Alma 5:46: To what does the phrase “these things” here and v. 45 refer? Is their antecedent in v. 44? How does Alma’s testimony that he has fasted and prayed many days to know these things square with the story of his conversion (see Mosiah 27:8-32 and Alma 36:6-23), in which he seems to have gained a testimony quickly and without fasting and prayer?
  • Alma 5:47: What particular words of the fathers does Alma have in mind? Does the context answer that question?
  • Alma 5:53-55: What are the sins of the people of Zarahemla? Are our sins today the same, or do we have different problems?
  • Alma 5:54: What is meant by works meet for repentance? Alms uses this phrase a couple more times over the next few chapters when preaching to the wicked parts of the Nephites. One time he uses the phrase 'fruits meet for repentance'. Again, what is meant by this?
  • Alma 5:57: How do we come out from the wicked? How do we avoid touching their unclean things? Does coming out from among them and not touching their unclean things mean that we dissociate ourselves from them? If so, how can we do missionary work among them? If not, how do we separate ourselves?

Resources[edit]

This section is for listing links and print resources, including those that are also cited elsewhere on this page. A short comment about the particular strengths of a resource can be helpful. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • Alma 5:39: Child of the devil. See this article by John Tvedtnes on the possible origins of the phrase "child of the devil."

Notes[edit]

Footnotes are not required but are encouraged for factual assertions that average readers cannot easily evaluate for themselves (such as the date of King Solomon’s death or the nuanced definition of a Greek word). In contrast, insights rarely benefit from footnoting, and the focus of this page should always remain on the scriptures themselves rather than what someone has said about them. Links are actively encouraged on all sections of this page, and links to authoritative sources (such as Strong's Bible Concordance or the Joseph Smith Papers) are preferable to footnotes.



Previous page: Verses 5:14-32                      Next page: Chapter 6


Alma 6:1-5

Home > The Book of Mormon > Alma > Chapters 4-7 > Chapter 6-7
Previous page: Verses 5:33-62                      Next page: Chapters 8-16


This page would ideally always be under construction. You are invited to contribute.


Summary[edit]

This heading should be very brief. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Discussion[edit]

This section is for detailed discussion such as the meaning of a symbol, how a doctrinal point is developed throughout a passage, or insights that can be further developed in the future. Contributions may range from polished paragraphs down to a single bullet point. The focus, however, should always be on understanding the scriptural text consistent with LDS doctrine. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • Alma 7:11: Isaiah. This verse is a quote of Isa 53:4 (cf. Matt 8:17) that is a more faithful translation of the Masoretic Hebrew text than the KJV translation (see the Thomas Wayment article below for an in depth analysis of this issue).
  • Alma 7:11: Affliction. The 1828 Webster dictionary defines affliction as “the cause of continued pain of body or mind, as sickness, losses, calamity, adversity, persecution.”
The use of the word affliction here suggests some of the things Christ suffered, namely sickness, losses, calamity, adversity, and persecution. In verse 12, Christ's taking upon himself afflictions (viz. death and infirmities) leads to a strength (viz. overcoming death and konwing how to succor others in their infirmities). Compare Paul's words, “I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Cor 12:10).
  • Alma 7:11: Temptations of every kind. By suffering "temptations of every kind," the Savior seems particularly qualified to credibly promise that he will not tempt us above that which we can bear (cf. D&C 64:20 and 1 Cor 10:13). Because Christ did not yield to temptation he is able to lead, guide, and protect us from falling into temptation if we will hearken to the words of Christ via the Spirit (cf. 2 Ne 32:3).
  • Alma 7:11: Pains and sicknesses of his people. In taking upon himself the pains and sicknesses of the people, Christ is exemplifying the covenant in Mosiah 18:8 and establishing a personal relationship with the people. The use of the possessive in the phrase "his people" also helps to establish this personal relationship (contrast this with Ex 17:4).
  • Alma 7:12. Christ suffered death to save us from bondage from Satan, and allow us to return to our Heavenly Home. Because of sin and mortality we could not return to our Father in Heaven, unless Christ came down on earth and gave his life as a ransom. Because Christ came down to Earth and suffered all these things, even death, we can break the bands of death both spiritually, from sin, and physically, from death of the body.
The word infirmity has always intrigued me because it is all encompassing. Infirmity covers a wide range of things mainly, “unhealthy state of body, weakness, feebleness, weakness of mind, failing, fault, foible,” and others (1828 Webster’s dictionary). The reason the Savior took upon Him our infirmities is so that he can know us individually and know our problems because he suffered the same things. He also did this so that he could know what we need to do to overcome all of our infirmities. This knowledge allows the Savior to succor or to deliver and relieve His people. The word succor is used because it means a fast response, not merely a response (1828 Webster’s Dictionary).
For me, this scripture brings an added measure of feeling loved by the Savior and His Father. The Savior and His Father are so willing to aid us that they will run to our support if we will only let them. The key to these passages is that although the Savior knows exactly what we need, to overcome anything in our lives, we still need to ask for the help. After asking we then must have the courage to move forward with faith and trust in the Savior.
  • Alma 7:13: Blot. The word blot means to “erase, to cause to be unseen, or forgotten,” by the Father and the Son. Because of the Atonement of Christ we can all return to our Father in Heaven in all His celestial glory. If we are willing to trust in the Savior and let Him be our light through tough times we will be saved at the last day.
I want to add my testimony to Alma’s that Jesus Christ did suffer afflictions, temptations, and all things so that we can live with Him and our Father in Heaven again. This is the main message of the Book of Mormon. The Book of Mormon is the word of God, Another Testament of the Savior Jesus Christ. Christ lives and we too can live if we have faith in him, repent of our sins, and come unto Christ through baptism and all of the other ordinances necessary to return to our Father in Heaven.
  • Alma 7:27: All that you possess. Perhaps many scriptures make a distinction between owning and just possessing (what is really the Lord’s.) Notice that Alma interjected the phrase "all that you possess" before it went on to add 'your women and your children' highlighting the different relationship we have to them.

Unanswered questions[edit]

This section is for questions along the lines of "I still don't understand ..." Please do not be shy. The point of these questions is to identify things that still need to be addressed on this page. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Prompts for life application[edit]

This section is for prompts that suggest ways in which a passage can influence a person's life. Prompts may be appropriate either for private self reflection or for a class discussion. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Prompts for further study[edit]

This section is for prompts that invite us to think about a passage more deeply or in a new way. These are not necessarily questions that beg for answers, but rather prompts along the lines of "Have you ever thought about ..." Prompts are most helpful when they are developed individually, thoughtfully, and with enough background information to clearly indicate a particular direction for further study or thought. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • Alma 7:3, 6: Gideonites. Are the Gideonites different than the people of Zarahemla, or is Alma’s hope that they are different vain?
  • Alma 7:7-12: Does Alma’s message to the Gideonites differ from his message to those of Zarahemla? Verse 12 teaches a doctrine that hidden from most of the rest of the world, that Christ suffered so that he will know how to succor his people? What does “succor” mean? How does Christ succor us?
  • Alma 7:14: Baptism and faith. This verse commands the Gideonites to be baptized not only that they be washed of their sins, but also that they may have faith in Christ. How does baptism make faith in Christ possible?
  • Alma 7:22: If the Gideonites were living righteously, why did they have to be awakened to a sense of their duty to God? As Alma uses the phrase here, what is “the holy order of God"? Is that different from “the order of the church” in Alma 8:1? Is he using the word “order” here in the same way he used it in Alma 5:49?
  • Alma 7:23: How does what Alma says here correlate with what he told those of Zarahemla in Alma 5:6, 13-15, 27-30, and 53-55? How does it correlate with Mosiah 4? What themes recur in each of these sermons about salvation?
  • Alma 7:24: Alma says “if you have faith, hope, and charity, then you will always do good works.” Do faith, hope, and charity guarantee good works? If so, how? Can we do good works without them? If not, why not?

Resources[edit]

This section is for listing links and print resources, including those that are also cited elsewhere on this page. A short comment about the particular strengths of a resource can be helpful. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

"When Jesus took upon Himself the heavy, atoning yoke in order to redeem all mankind by paying the agonizing price for our sins, He... also volunteered to take upon Himself additional agony in order that He might experience and thus know certain things 'according to the flesh,' namely human sicknesses and infirmities and human griefs, including those not associated with sin. Therefore, as a result of His great Atonement, Jesus was filled with unique empathy and with perfect mercy" (emphasis added).
  • D&C 19:16-20 gives additional insight to the depth of the atonement.

Notes[edit]

Footnotes are not required but are encouraged for factual assertions that average readers cannot easily evaluate for themselves (such as the date of King Solomon’s death or the nuanced definition of a Greek word). In contrast, insights rarely benefit from footnoting, and the focus of this page should always remain on the scriptures themselves rather than what someone has said about them. Links are actively encouraged on all sections of this page, and links to authoritative sources (such as Strong's Bible Concordance or the Joseph Smith Papers) are preferable to footnotes.



Previous page: Verses 5:33-62                      Next page: Chapters 8-16

Alma 6:6-8

Home > The Book of Mormon > Alma > Chapters 4-7 > Chapter 6-7
Previous page: Verses 5:33-62                      Next page: Chapters 8-16


This page would ideally always be under construction. You are invited to contribute.


Summary[edit]

This heading should be very brief. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Discussion[edit]

This section is for detailed discussion such as the meaning of a symbol, how a doctrinal point is developed throughout a passage, or insights that can be further developed in the future. Contributions may range from polished paragraphs down to a single bullet point. The focus, however, should always be on understanding the scriptural text consistent with LDS doctrine. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • Alma 7:11: Isaiah. This verse is a quote of Isa 53:4 (cf. Matt 8:17) that is a more faithful translation of the Masoretic Hebrew text than the KJV translation (see the Thomas Wayment article below for an in depth analysis of this issue).
  • Alma 7:11: Affliction. The 1828 Webster dictionary defines affliction as “the cause of continued pain of body or mind, as sickness, losses, calamity, adversity, persecution.”
The use of the word affliction here suggests some of the things Christ suffered, namely sickness, losses, calamity, adversity, and persecution. In verse 12, Christ's taking upon himself afflictions (viz. death and infirmities) leads to a strength (viz. overcoming death and konwing how to succor others in their infirmities). Compare Paul's words, “I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Cor 12:10).
  • Alma 7:11: Temptations of every kind. By suffering "temptations of every kind," the Savior seems particularly qualified to credibly promise that he will not tempt us above that which we can bear (cf. D&C 64:20 and 1 Cor 10:13). Because Christ did not yield to temptation he is able to lead, guide, and protect us from falling into temptation if we will hearken to the words of Christ via the Spirit (cf. 2 Ne 32:3).
  • Alma 7:11: Pains and sicknesses of his people. In taking upon himself the pains and sicknesses of the people, Christ is exemplifying the covenant in Mosiah 18:8 and establishing a personal relationship with the people. The use of the possessive in the phrase "his people" also helps to establish this personal relationship (contrast this with Ex 17:4).
  • Alma 7:12. Christ suffered death to save us from bondage from Satan, and allow us to return to our Heavenly Home. Because of sin and mortality we could not return to our Father in Heaven, unless Christ came down on earth and gave his life as a ransom. Because Christ came down to Earth and suffered all these things, even death, we can break the bands of death both spiritually, from sin, and physically, from death of the body.
The word infirmity has always intrigued me because it is all encompassing. Infirmity covers a wide range of things mainly, “unhealthy state of body, weakness, feebleness, weakness of mind, failing, fault, foible,” and others (1828 Webster’s dictionary). The reason the Savior took upon Him our infirmities is so that he can know us individually and know our problems because he suffered the same things. He also did this so that he could know what we need to do to overcome all of our infirmities. This knowledge allows the Savior to succor or to deliver and relieve His people. The word succor is used because it means a fast response, not merely a response (1828 Webster’s Dictionary).
For me, this scripture brings an added measure of feeling loved by the Savior and His Father. The Savior and His Father are so willing to aid us that they will run to our support if we will only let them. The key to these passages is that although the Savior knows exactly what we need, to overcome anything in our lives, we still need to ask for the help. After asking we then must have the courage to move forward with faith and trust in the Savior.
  • Alma 7:13: Blot. The word blot means to “erase, to cause to be unseen, or forgotten,” by the Father and the Son. Because of the Atonement of Christ we can all return to our Father in Heaven in all His celestial glory. If we are willing to trust in the Savior and let Him be our light through tough times we will be saved at the last day.
I want to add my testimony to Alma’s that Jesus Christ did suffer afflictions, temptations, and all things so that we can live with Him and our Father in Heaven again. This is the main message of the Book of Mormon. The Book of Mormon is the word of God, Another Testament of the Savior Jesus Christ. Christ lives and we too can live if we have faith in him, repent of our sins, and come unto Christ through baptism and all of the other ordinances necessary to return to our Father in Heaven.
  • Alma 7:27: All that you possess. Perhaps many scriptures make a distinction between owning and just possessing (what is really the Lord’s.) Notice that Alma interjected the phrase "all that you possess" before it went on to add 'your women and your children' highlighting the different relationship we have to them.

Unanswered questions[edit]

This section is for questions along the lines of "I still don't understand ..." Please do not be shy. The point of these questions is to identify things that still need to be addressed on this page. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Prompts for life application[edit]

This section is for prompts that suggest ways in which a passage can influence a person's life. Prompts may be appropriate either for private self reflection or for a class discussion. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Prompts for further study[edit]

This section is for prompts that invite us to think about a passage more deeply or in a new way. These are not necessarily questions that beg for answers, but rather prompts along the lines of "Have you ever thought about ..." Prompts are most helpful when they are developed individually, thoughtfully, and with enough background information to clearly indicate a particular direction for further study or thought. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • Alma 7:3, 6: Gideonites. Are the Gideonites different than the people of Zarahemla, or is Alma’s hope that they are different vain?
  • Alma 7:7-12: Does Alma’s message to the Gideonites differ from his message to those of Zarahemla? Verse 12 teaches a doctrine that hidden from most of the rest of the world, that Christ suffered so that he will know how to succor his people? What does “succor” mean? How does Christ succor us?
  • Alma 7:14: Baptism and faith. This verse commands the Gideonites to be baptized not only that they be washed of their sins, but also that they may have faith in Christ. How does baptism make faith in Christ possible?
  • Alma 7:22: If the Gideonites were living righteously, why did they have to be awakened to a sense of their duty to God? As Alma uses the phrase here, what is “the holy order of God"? Is that different from “the order of the church” in Alma 8:1? Is he using the word “order” here in the same way he used it in Alma 5:49?
  • Alma 7:23: How does what Alma says here correlate with what he told those of Zarahemla in Alma 5:6, 13-15, 27-30, and 53-55? How does it correlate with Mosiah 4? What themes recur in each of these sermons about salvation?
  • Alma 7:24: Alma says “if you have faith, hope, and charity, then you will always do good works.” Do faith, hope, and charity guarantee good works? If so, how? Can we do good works without them? If not, why not?

Resources[edit]

This section is for listing links and print resources, including those that are also cited elsewhere on this page. A short comment about the particular strengths of a resource can be helpful. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

"When Jesus took upon Himself the heavy, atoning yoke in order to redeem all mankind by paying the agonizing price for our sins, He... also volunteered to take upon Himself additional agony in order that He might experience and thus know certain things 'according to the flesh,' namely human sicknesses and infirmities and human griefs, including those not associated with sin. Therefore, as a result of His great Atonement, Jesus was filled with unique empathy and with perfect mercy" (emphasis added).
  • D&C 19:16-20 gives additional insight to the depth of the atonement.

Notes[edit]

Footnotes are not required but are encouraged for factual assertions that average readers cannot easily evaluate for themselves (such as the date of King Solomon’s death or the nuanced definition of a Greek word). In contrast, insights rarely benefit from footnoting, and the focus of this page should always remain on the scriptures themselves rather than what someone has said about them. Links are actively encouraged on all sections of this page, and links to authoritative sources (such as Strong's Bible Concordance or the Joseph Smith Papers) are preferable to footnotes.



Previous page: Verses 5:33-62                      Next page: Chapters 8-16


Alma 7:1-5

Home > The Book of Mormon > Alma > Chapters 4-7 > Chapter 6-7
Previous page: Verses 5:33-62                      Next page: Chapters 8-16


This page would ideally always be under construction. You are invited to contribute.


Summary[edit]

This heading should be very brief. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Discussion[edit]

This section is for detailed discussion such as the meaning of a symbol, how a doctrinal point is developed throughout a passage, or insights that can be further developed in the future. Contributions may range from polished paragraphs down to a single bullet point. The focus, however, should always be on understanding the scriptural text consistent with LDS doctrine. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • Alma 7:11: Isaiah. This verse is a quote of Isa 53:4 (cf. Matt 8:17) that is a more faithful translation of the Masoretic Hebrew text than the KJV translation (see the Thomas Wayment article below for an in depth analysis of this issue).
  • Alma 7:11: Affliction. The 1828 Webster dictionary defines affliction as “the cause of continued pain of body or mind, as sickness, losses, calamity, adversity, persecution.”
The use of the word affliction here suggests some of the things Christ suffered, namely sickness, losses, calamity, adversity, and persecution. In verse 12, Christ's taking upon himself afflictions (viz. death and infirmities) leads to a strength (viz. overcoming death and konwing how to succor others in their infirmities). Compare Paul's words, “I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Cor 12:10).
  • Alma 7:11: Temptations of every kind. By suffering "temptations of every kind," the Savior seems particularly qualified to credibly promise that he will not tempt us above that which we can bear (cf. D&C 64:20 and 1 Cor 10:13). Because Christ did not yield to temptation he is able to lead, guide, and protect us from falling into temptation if we will hearken to the words of Christ via the Spirit (cf. 2 Ne 32:3).
  • Alma 7:11: Pains and sicknesses of his people. In taking upon himself the pains and sicknesses of the people, Christ is exemplifying the covenant in Mosiah 18:8 and establishing a personal relationship with the people. The use of the possessive in the phrase "his people" also helps to establish this personal relationship (contrast this with Ex 17:4).
  • Alma 7:12. Christ suffered death to save us from bondage from Satan, and allow us to return to our Heavenly Home. Because of sin and mortality we could not return to our Father in Heaven, unless Christ came down on earth and gave his life as a ransom. Because Christ came down to Earth and suffered all these things, even death, we can break the bands of death both spiritually, from sin, and physically, from death of the body.
The word infirmity has always intrigued me because it is all encompassing. Infirmity covers a wide range of things mainly, “unhealthy state of body, weakness, feebleness, weakness of mind, failing, fault, foible,” and others (1828 Webster’s dictionary). The reason the Savior took upon Him our infirmities is so that he can know us individually and know our problems because he suffered the same things. He also did this so that he could know what we need to do to overcome all of our infirmities. This knowledge allows the Savior to succor or to deliver and relieve His people. The word succor is used because it means a fast response, not merely a response (1828 Webster’s Dictionary).
For me, this scripture brings an added measure of feeling loved by the Savior and His Father. The Savior and His Father are so willing to aid us that they will run to our support if we will only let them. The key to these passages is that although the Savior knows exactly what we need, to overcome anything in our lives, we still need to ask for the help. After asking we then must have the courage to move forward with faith and trust in the Savior.
  • Alma 7:13: Blot. The word blot means to “erase, to cause to be unseen, or forgotten,” by the Father and the Son. Because of the Atonement of Christ we can all return to our Father in Heaven in all His celestial glory. If we are willing to trust in the Savior and let Him be our light through tough times we will be saved at the last day.
I want to add my testimony to Alma’s that Jesus Christ did suffer afflictions, temptations, and all things so that we can live with Him and our Father in Heaven again. This is the main message of the Book of Mormon. The Book of Mormon is the word of God, Another Testament of the Savior Jesus Christ. Christ lives and we too can live if we have faith in him, repent of our sins, and come unto Christ through baptism and all of the other ordinances necessary to return to our Father in Heaven.
  • Alma 7:27: All that you possess. Perhaps many scriptures make a distinction between owning and just possessing (what is really the Lord’s.) Notice that Alma interjected the phrase "all that you possess" before it went on to add 'your women and your children' highlighting the different relationship we have to them.

Unanswered questions[edit]

This section is for questions along the lines of "I still don't understand ..." Please do not be shy. The point of these questions is to identify things that still need to be addressed on this page. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Prompts for life application[edit]

This section is for prompts that suggest ways in which a passage can influence a person's life. Prompts may be appropriate either for private self reflection or for a class discussion. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Prompts for further study[edit]

This section is for prompts that invite us to think about a passage more deeply or in a new way. These are not necessarily questions that beg for answers, but rather prompts along the lines of "Have you ever thought about ..." Prompts are most helpful when they are developed individually, thoughtfully, and with enough background information to clearly indicate a particular direction for further study or thought. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • Alma 7:3, 6: Gideonites. Are the Gideonites different than the people of Zarahemla, or is Alma’s hope that they are different vain?
  • Alma 7:7-12: Does Alma’s message to the Gideonites differ from his message to those of Zarahemla? Verse 12 teaches a doctrine that hidden from most of the rest of the world, that Christ suffered so that he will know how to succor his people? What does “succor” mean? How does Christ succor us?
  • Alma 7:14: Baptism and faith. This verse commands the Gideonites to be baptized not only that they be washed of their sins, but also that they may have faith in Christ. How does baptism make faith in Christ possible?
  • Alma 7:22: If the Gideonites were living righteously, why did they have to be awakened to a sense of their duty to God? As Alma uses the phrase here, what is “the holy order of God"? Is that different from “the order of the church” in Alma 8:1? Is he using the word “order” here in the same way he used it in Alma 5:49?
  • Alma 7:23: How does what Alma says here correlate with what he told those of Zarahemla in Alma 5:6, 13-15, 27-30, and 53-55? How does it correlate with Mosiah 4? What themes recur in each of these sermons about salvation?
  • Alma 7:24: Alma says “if you have faith, hope, and charity, then you will always do good works.” Do faith, hope, and charity guarantee good works? If so, how? Can we do good works without them? If not, why not?

Resources[edit]

This section is for listing links and print resources, including those that are also cited elsewhere on this page. A short comment about the particular strengths of a resource can be helpful. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

"When Jesus took upon Himself the heavy, atoning yoke in order to redeem all mankind by paying the agonizing price for our sins, He... also volunteered to take upon Himself additional agony in order that He might experience and thus know certain things 'according to the flesh,' namely human sicknesses and infirmities and human griefs, including those not associated with sin. Therefore, as a result of His great Atonement, Jesus was filled with unique empathy and with perfect mercy" (emphasis added).
  • D&C 19:16-20 gives additional insight to the depth of the atonement.

Notes[edit]

Footnotes are not required but are encouraged for factual assertions that average readers cannot easily evaluate for themselves (such as the date of King Solomon’s death or the nuanced definition of a Greek word). In contrast, insights rarely benefit from footnoting, and the focus of this page should always remain on the scriptures themselves rather than what someone has said about them. Links are actively encouraged on all sections of this page, and links to authoritative sources (such as Strong's Bible Concordance or the Joseph Smith Papers) are preferable to footnotes.



Previous page: Verses 5:33-62                      Next page: Chapters 8-16

Alma 7:6-10

Home > The Book of Mormon > Alma > Chapters 4-7 > Chapter 6-7
Previous page: Verses 5:33-62                      Next page: Chapters 8-16


This page would ideally always be under construction. You are invited to contribute.


Summary[edit]

This heading should be very brief. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Discussion[edit]

This section is for detailed discussion such as the meaning of a symbol, how a doctrinal point is developed throughout a passage, or insights that can be further developed in the future. Contributions may range from polished paragraphs down to a single bullet point. The focus, however, should always be on understanding the scriptural text consistent with LDS doctrine. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • Alma 7:11: Isaiah. This verse is a quote of Isa 53:4 (cf. Matt 8:17) that is a more faithful translation of the Masoretic Hebrew text than the KJV translation (see the Thomas Wayment article below for an in depth analysis of this issue).
  • Alma 7:11: Affliction. The 1828 Webster dictionary defines affliction as “the cause of continued pain of body or mind, as sickness, losses, calamity, adversity, persecution.”
The use of the word affliction here suggests some of the things Christ suffered, namely sickness, losses, calamity, adversity, and persecution. In verse 12, Christ's taking upon himself afflictions (viz. death and infirmities) leads to a strength (viz. overcoming death and konwing how to succor others in their infirmities). Compare Paul's words, “I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Cor 12:10).
  • Alma 7:11: Temptations of every kind. By suffering "temptations of every kind," the Savior seems particularly qualified to credibly promise that he will not tempt us above that which we can bear (cf. D&C 64:20 and 1 Cor 10:13). Because Christ did not yield to temptation he is able to lead, guide, and protect us from falling into temptation if we will hearken to the words of Christ via the Spirit (cf. 2 Ne 32:3).
  • Alma 7:11: Pains and sicknesses of his people. In taking upon himself the pains and sicknesses of the people, Christ is exemplifying the covenant in Mosiah 18:8 and establishing a personal relationship with the people. The use of the possessive in the phrase "his people" also helps to establish this personal relationship (contrast this with Ex 17:4).
  • Alma 7:12. Christ suffered death to save us from bondage from Satan, and allow us to return to our Heavenly Home. Because of sin and mortality we could not return to our Father in Heaven, unless Christ came down on earth and gave his life as a ransom. Because Christ came down to Earth and suffered all these things, even death, we can break the bands of death both spiritually, from sin, and physically, from death of the body.
The word infirmity has always intrigued me because it is all encompassing. Infirmity covers a wide range of things mainly, “unhealthy state of body, weakness, feebleness, weakness of mind, failing, fault, foible,” and others (1828 Webster’s dictionary). The reason the Savior took upon Him our infirmities is so that he can know us individually and know our problems because he suffered the same things. He also did this so that he could know what we need to do to overcome all of our infirmities. This knowledge allows the Savior to succor or to deliver and relieve His people. The word succor is used because it means a fast response, not merely a response (1828 Webster’s Dictionary).
For me, this scripture brings an added measure of feeling loved by the Savior and His Father. The Savior and His Father are so willing to aid us that they will run to our support if we will only let them. The key to these passages is that although the Savior knows exactly what we need, to overcome anything in our lives, we still need to ask for the help. After asking we then must have the courage to move forward with faith and trust in the Savior.
  • Alma 7:13: Blot. The word blot means to “erase, to cause to be unseen, or forgotten,” by the Father and the Son. Because of the Atonement of Christ we can all return to our Father in Heaven in all His celestial glory. If we are willing to trust in the Savior and let Him be our light through tough times we will be saved at the last day.
I want to add my testimony to Alma’s that Jesus Christ did suffer afflictions, temptations, and all things so that we can live with Him and our Father in Heaven again. This is the main message of the Book of Mormon. The Book of Mormon is the word of God, Another Testament of the Savior Jesus Christ. Christ lives and we too can live if we have faith in him, repent of our sins, and come unto Christ through baptism and all of the other ordinances necessary to return to our Father in Heaven.
  • Alma 7:27: All that you possess. Perhaps many scriptures make a distinction between owning and just possessing (what is really the Lord’s.) Notice that Alma interjected the phrase "all that you possess" before it went on to add 'your women and your children' highlighting the different relationship we have to them.

Unanswered questions[edit]

This section is for questions along the lines of "I still don't understand ..." Please do not be shy. The point of these questions is to identify things that still need to be addressed on this page. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Prompts for life application[edit]

This section is for prompts that suggest ways in which a passage can influence a person's life. Prompts may be appropriate either for private self reflection or for a class discussion. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Prompts for further study[edit]

This section is for prompts that invite us to think about a passage more deeply or in a new way. These are not necessarily questions that beg for answers, but rather prompts along the lines of "Have you ever thought about ..." Prompts are most helpful when they are developed individually, thoughtfully, and with enough background information to clearly indicate a particular direction for further study or thought. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • Alma 7:3, 6: Gideonites. Are the Gideonites different than the people of Zarahemla, or is Alma’s hope that they are different vain?
  • Alma 7:7-12: Does Alma’s message to the Gideonites differ from his message to those of Zarahemla? Verse 12 teaches a doctrine that hidden from most of the rest of the world, that Christ suffered so that he will know how to succor his people? What does “succor” mean? How does Christ succor us?
  • Alma 7:14: Baptism and faith. This verse commands the Gideonites to be baptized not only that they be washed of their sins, but also that they may have faith in Christ. How does baptism make faith in Christ possible?
  • Alma 7:22: If the Gideonites were living righteously, why did they have to be awakened to a sense of their duty to God? As Alma uses the phrase here, what is “the holy order of God"? Is that different from “the order of the church” in Alma 8:1? Is he using the word “order” here in the same way he used it in Alma 5:49?
  • Alma 7:23: How does what Alma says here correlate with what he told those of Zarahemla in Alma 5:6, 13-15, 27-30, and 53-55? How does it correlate with Mosiah 4? What themes recur in each of these sermons about salvation?
  • Alma 7:24: Alma says “if you have faith, hope, and charity, then you will always do good works.” Do faith, hope, and charity guarantee good works? If so, how? Can we do good works without them? If not, why not?

Resources[edit]

This section is for listing links and print resources, including those that are also cited elsewhere on this page. A short comment about the particular strengths of a resource can be helpful. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

"When Jesus took upon Himself the heavy, atoning yoke in order to redeem all mankind by paying the agonizing price for our sins, He... also volunteered to take upon Himself additional agony in order that He might experience and thus know certain things 'according to the flesh,' namely human sicknesses and infirmities and human griefs, including those not associated with sin. Therefore, as a result of His great Atonement, Jesus was filled with unique empathy and with perfect mercy" (emphasis added).
  • D&C 19:16-20 gives additional insight to the depth of the atonement.

Notes[edit]

Footnotes are not required but are encouraged for factual assertions that average readers cannot easily evaluate for themselves (such as the date of King Solomon’s death or the nuanced definition of a Greek word). In contrast, insights rarely benefit from footnoting, and the focus of this page should always remain on the scriptures themselves rather than what someone has said about them. Links are actively encouraged on all sections of this page, and links to authoritative sources (such as Strong's Bible Concordance or the Joseph Smith Papers) are preferable to footnotes.



Previous page: Verses 5:33-62                      Next page: Chapters 8-16

Alma 7:11-15

Home > The Book of Mormon > Alma > Chapters 4-7 > Chapter 6-7
Previous page: Verses 5:33-62                      Next page: Chapters 8-16


This page would ideally always be under construction. You are invited to contribute.


Summary[edit]

This heading should be very brief. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Discussion[edit]

This section is for detailed discussion such as the meaning of a symbol, how a doctrinal point is developed throughout a passage, or insights that can be further developed in the future. Contributions may range from polished paragraphs down to a single bullet point. The focus, however, should always be on understanding the scriptural text consistent with LDS doctrine. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • Alma 7:11: Isaiah. This verse is a quote of Isa 53:4 (cf. Matt 8:17) that is a more faithful translation of the Masoretic Hebrew text than the KJV translation (see the Thomas Wayment article below for an in depth analysis of this issue).
  • Alma 7:11: Affliction. The 1828 Webster dictionary defines affliction as “the cause of continued pain of body or mind, as sickness, losses, calamity, adversity, persecution.”
The use of the word affliction here suggests some of the things Christ suffered, namely sickness, losses, calamity, adversity, and persecution. In verse 12, Christ's taking upon himself afflictions (viz. death and infirmities) leads to a strength (viz. overcoming death and konwing how to succor others in their infirmities). Compare Paul's words, “I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Cor 12:10).
  • Alma 7:11: Temptations of every kind. By suffering "temptations of every kind," the Savior seems particularly qualified to credibly promise that he will not tempt us above that which we can bear (cf. D&C 64:20 and 1 Cor 10:13). Because Christ did not yield to temptation he is able to lead, guide, and protect us from falling into temptation if we will hearken to the words of Christ via the Spirit (cf. 2 Ne 32:3).
  • Alma 7:11: Pains and sicknesses of his people. In taking upon himself the pains and sicknesses of the people, Christ is exemplifying the covenant in Mosiah 18:8 and establishing a personal relationship with the people. The use of the possessive in the phrase "his people" also helps to establish this personal relationship (contrast this with Ex 17:4).
  • Alma 7:12. Christ suffered death to save us from bondage from Satan, and allow us to return to our Heavenly Home. Because of sin and mortality we could not return to our Father in Heaven, unless Christ came down on earth and gave his life as a ransom. Because Christ came down to Earth and suffered all these things, even death, we can break the bands of death both spiritually, from sin, and physically, from death of the body.
The word infirmity has always intrigued me because it is all encompassing. Infirmity covers a wide range of things mainly, “unhealthy state of body, weakness, feebleness, weakness of mind, failing, fault, foible,” and others (1828 Webster’s dictionary). The reason the Savior took upon Him our infirmities is so that he can know us individually and know our problems because he suffered the same things. He also did this so that he could know what we need to do to overcome all of our infirmities. This knowledge allows the Savior to succor or to deliver and relieve His people. The word succor is used because it means a fast response, not merely a response (1828 Webster’s Dictionary).
For me, this scripture brings an added measure of feeling loved by the Savior and His Father. The Savior and His Father are so willing to aid us that they will run to our support if we will only let them. The key to these passages is that although the Savior knows exactly what we need, to overcome anything in our lives, we still need to ask for the help. After asking we then must have the courage to move forward with faith and trust in the Savior.
  • Alma 7:13: Blot. The word blot means to “erase, to cause to be unseen, or forgotten,” by the Father and the Son. Because of the Atonement of Christ we can all return to our Father in Heaven in all His celestial glory. If we are willing to trust in the Savior and let Him be our light through tough times we will be saved at the last day.
I want to add my testimony to Alma’s that Jesus Christ did suffer afflictions, temptations, and all things so that we can live with Him and our Father in Heaven again. This is the main message of the Book of Mormon. The Book of Mormon is the word of God, Another Testament of the Savior Jesus Christ. Christ lives and we too can live if we have faith in him, repent of our sins, and come unto Christ through baptism and all of the other ordinances necessary to return to our Father in Heaven.
  • Alma 7:27: All that you possess. Perhaps many scriptures make a distinction between owning and just possessing (what is really the Lord’s.) Notice that Alma interjected the phrase "all that you possess" before it went on to add 'your women and your children' highlighting the different relationship we have to them.

Unanswered questions[edit]

This section is for questions along the lines of "I still don't understand ..." Please do not be shy. The point of these questions is to identify things that still need to be addressed on this page. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Prompts for life application[edit]

This section is for prompts that suggest ways in which a passage can influence a person's life. Prompts may be appropriate either for private self reflection or for a class discussion. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Prompts for further study[edit]

This section is for prompts that invite us to think about a passage more deeply or in a new way. These are not necessarily questions that beg for answers, but rather prompts along the lines of "Have you ever thought about ..." Prompts are most helpful when they are developed individually, thoughtfully, and with enough background information to clearly indicate a particular direction for further study or thought. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • Alma 7:3, 6: Gideonites. Are the Gideonites different than the people of Zarahemla, or is Alma’s hope that they are different vain?
  • Alma 7:7-12: Does Alma’s message to the Gideonites differ from his message to those of Zarahemla? Verse 12 teaches a doctrine that hidden from most of the rest of the world, that Christ suffered so that he will know how to succor his people? What does “succor” mean? How does Christ succor us?
  • Alma 7:14: Baptism and faith. This verse commands the Gideonites to be baptized not only that they be washed of their sins, but also that they may have faith in Christ. How does baptism make faith in Christ possible?
  • Alma 7:22: If the Gideonites were living righteously, why did they have to be awakened to a sense of their duty to God? As Alma uses the phrase here, what is “the holy order of God"? Is that different from “the order of the church” in Alma 8:1? Is he using the word “order” here in the same way he used it in Alma 5:49?
  • Alma 7:23: How does what Alma says here correlate with what he told those of Zarahemla in Alma 5:6, 13-15, 27-30, and 53-55? How does it correlate with Mosiah 4? What themes recur in each of these sermons about salvation?
  • Alma 7:24: Alma says “if you have faith, hope, and charity, then you will always do good works.” Do faith, hope, and charity guarantee good works? If so, how? Can we do good works without them? If not, why not?

Resources[edit]

This section is for listing links and print resources, including those that are also cited elsewhere on this page. A short comment about the particular strengths of a resource can be helpful. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

"When Jesus took upon Himself the heavy, atoning yoke in order to redeem all mankind by paying the agonizing price for our sins, He... also volunteered to take upon Himself additional agony in order that He might experience and thus know certain things 'according to the flesh,' namely human sicknesses and infirmities and human griefs, including those not associated with sin. Therefore, as a result of His great Atonement, Jesus was filled with unique empathy and with perfect mercy" (emphasis added).
  • D&C 19:16-20 gives additional insight to the depth of the atonement.

Notes[edit]

Footnotes are not required but are encouraged for factual assertions that average readers cannot easily evaluate for themselves (such as the date of King Solomon’s death or the nuanced definition of a Greek word). In contrast, insights rarely benefit from footnoting, and the focus of this page should always remain on the scriptures themselves rather than what someone has said about them. Links are actively encouraged on all sections of this page, and links to authoritative sources (such as Strong's Bible Concordance or the Joseph Smith Papers) are preferable to footnotes.



Previous page: Verses 5:33-62                      Next page: Chapters 8-16

Alma 7:16-20

Home > The Book of Mormon > Alma > Chapters 4-7 > Chapter 6-7
Previous page: Verses 5:33-62                      Next page: Chapters 8-16


This page would ideally always be under construction. You are invited to contribute.


Summary[edit]

This heading should be very brief. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Discussion[edit]

This section is for detailed discussion such as the meaning of a symbol, how a doctrinal point is developed throughout a passage, or insights that can be further developed in the future. Contributions may range from polished paragraphs down to a single bullet point. The focus, however, should always be on understanding the scriptural text consistent with LDS doctrine. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • Alma 7:11: Isaiah. This verse is a quote of Isa 53:4 (cf. Matt 8:17) that is a more faithful translation of the Masoretic Hebrew text than the KJV translation (see the Thomas Wayment article below for an in depth analysis of this issue).
  • Alma 7:11: Affliction. The 1828 Webster dictionary defines affliction as “the cause of continued pain of body or mind, as sickness, losses, calamity, adversity, persecution.”
The use of the word affliction here suggests some of the things Christ suffered, namely sickness, losses, calamity, adversity, and persecution. In verse 12, Christ's taking upon himself afflictions (viz. death and infirmities) leads to a strength (viz. overcoming death and konwing how to succor others in their infirmities). Compare Paul's words, “I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Cor 12:10).
  • Alma 7:11: Temptations of every kind. By suffering "temptations of every kind," the Savior seems particularly qualified to credibly promise that he will not tempt us above that which we can bear (cf. D&C 64:20 and 1 Cor 10:13). Because Christ did not yield to temptation he is able to lead, guide, and protect us from falling into temptation if we will hearken to the words of Christ via the Spirit (cf. 2 Ne 32:3).
  • Alma 7:11: Pains and sicknesses of his people. In taking upon himself the pains and sicknesses of the people, Christ is exemplifying the covenant in Mosiah 18:8 and establishing a personal relationship with the people. The use of the possessive in the phrase "his people" also helps to establish this personal relationship (contrast this with Ex 17:4).
  • Alma 7:12. Christ suffered death to save us from bondage from Satan, and allow us to return to our Heavenly Home. Because of sin and mortality we could not return to our Father in Heaven, unless Christ came down on earth and gave his life as a ransom. Because Christ came down to Earth and suffered all these things, even death, we can break the bands of death both spiritually, from sin, and physically, from death of the body.
The word infirmity has always intrigued me because it is all encompassing. Infirmity covers a wide range of things mainly, “unhealthy state of body, weakness, feebleness, weakness of mind, failing, fault, foible,” and others (1828 Webster’s dictionary). The reason the Savior took upon Him our infirmities is so that he can know us individually and know our problems because he suffered the same things. He also did this so that he could know what we need to do to overcome all of our infirmities. This knowledge allows the Savior to succor or to deliver and relieve His people. The word succor is used because it means a fast response, not merely a response (1828 Webster’s Dictionary).
For me, this scripture brings an added measure of feeling loved by the Savior and His Father. The Savior and His Father are so willing to aid us that they will run to our support if we will only let them. The key to these passages is that although the Savior knows exactly what we need, to overcome anything in our lives, we still need to ask for the help. After asking we then must have the courage to move forward with faith and trust in the Savior.
  • Alma 7:13: Blot. The word blot means to “erase, to cause to be unseen, or forgotten,” by the Father and the Son. Because of the Atonement of Christ we can all return to our Father in Heaven in all His celestial glory. If we are willing to trust in the Savior and let Him be our light through tough times we will be saved at the last day.
I want to add my testimony to Alma’s that Jesus Christ did suffer afflictions, temptations, and all things so that we can live with Him and our Father in Heaven again. This is the main message of the Book of Mormon. The Book of Mormon is the word of God, Another Testament of the Savior Jesus Christ. Christ lives and we too can live if we have faith in him, repent of our sins, and come unto Christ through baptism and all of the other ordinances necessary to return to our Father in Heaven.
  • Alma 7:27: All that you possess. Perhaps many scriptures make a distinction between owning and just possessing (what is really the Lord’s.) Notice that Alma interjected the phrase "all that you possess" before it went on to add 'your women and your children' highlighting the different relationship we have to them.

Unanswered questions[edit]

This section is for questions along the lines of "I still don't understand ..." Please do not be shy. The point of these questions is to identify things that still need to be addressed on this page. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Prompts for life application[edit]

This section is for prompts that suggest ways in which a passage can influence a person's life. Prompts may be appropriate either for private self reflection or for a class discussion. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Prompts for further study[edit]

This section is for prompts that invite us to think about a passage more deeply or in a new way. These are not necessarily questions that beg for answers, but rather prompts along the lines of "Have you ever thought about ..." Prompts are most helpful when they are developed individually, thoughtfully, and with enough background information to clearly indicate a particular direction for further study or thought. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • Alma 7:3, 6: Gideonites. Are the Gideonites different than the people of Zarahemla, or is Alma’s hope that they are different vain?
  • Alma 7:7-12: Does Alma’s message to the Gideonites differ from his message to those of Zarahemla? Verse 12 teaches a doctrine that hidden from most of the rest of the world, that Christ suffered so that he will know how to succor his people? What does “succor” mean? How does Christ succor us?
  • Alma 7:14: Baptism and faith. This verse commands the Gideonites to be baptized not only that they be washed of their sins, but also that they may have faith in Christ. How does baptism make faith in Christ possible?
  • Alma 7:22: If the Gideonites were living righteously, why did they have to be awakened to a sense of their duty to God? As Alma uses the phrase here, what is “the holy order of God"? Is that different from “the order of the church” in Alma 8:1? Is he using the word “order” here in the same way he used it in Alma 5:49?
  • Alma 7:23: How does what Alma says here correlate with what he told those of Zarahemla in Alma 5:6, 13-15, 27-30, and 53-55? How does it correlate with Mosiah 4? What themes recur in each of these sermons about salvation?
  • Alma 7:24: Alma says “if you have faith, hope, and charity, then you will always do good works.” Do faith, hope, and charity guarantee good works? If so, how? Can we do good works without them? If not, why not?

Resources[edit]

This section is for listing links and print resources, including those that are also cited elsewhere on this page. A short comment about the particular strengths of a resource can be helpful. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

"When Jesus took upon Himself the heavy, atoning yoke in order to redeem all mankind by paying the agonizing price for our sins, He... also volunteered to take upon Himself additional agony in order that He might experience and thus know certain things 'according to the flesh,' namely human sicknesses and infirmities and human griefs, including those not associated with sin. Therefore, as a result of His great Atonement, Jesus was filled with unique empathy and with perfect mercy" (emphasis added).
  • D&C 19:16-20 gives additional insight to the depth of the atonement.

Notes[edit]

Footnotes are not required but are encouraged for factual assertions that average readers cannot easily evaluate for themselves (such as the date of King Solomon’s death or the nuanced definition of a Greek word). In contrast, insights rarely benefit from footnoting, and the focus of this page should always remain on the scriptures themselves rather than what someone has said about them. Links are actively encouraged on all sections of this page, and links to authoritative sources (such as Strong's Bible Concordance or the Joseph Smith Papers) are preferable to footnotes.



Previous page: Verses 5:33-62                      Next page: Chapters 8-16

Alma 7:21-27

Home > The Book of Mormon > Alma > Chapters 4-7 > Chapter 6-7
Previous page: Verses 5:33-62                      Next page: Chapters 8-16


This page would ideally always be under construction. You are invited to contribute.


Summary[edit]

This heading should be very brief. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Discussion[edit]

This section is for detailed discussion such as the meaning of a symbol, how a doctrinal point is developed throughout a passage, or insights that can be further developed in the future. Contributions may range from polished paragraphs down to a single bullet point. The focus, however, should always be on understanding the scriptural text consistent with LDS doctrine. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • Alma 7:11: Isaiah. This verse is a quote of Isa 53:4 (cf. Matt 8:17) that is a more faithful translation of the Masoretic Hebrew text than the KJV translation (see the Thomas Wayment article below for an in depth analysis of this issue).
  • Alma 7:11: Affliction. The 1828 Webster dictionary defines affliction as “the cause of continued pain of body or mind, as sickness, losses, calamity, adversity, persecution.”
The use of the word affliction here suggests some of the things Christ suffered, namely sickness, losses, calamity, adversity, and persecution. In verse 12, Christ's taking upon himself afflictions (viz. death and infirmities) leads to a strength (viz. overcoming death and konwing how to succor others in their infirmities). Compare Paul's words, “I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Cor 12:10).
  • Alma 7:11: Temptations of every kind. By suffering "temptations of every kind," the Savior seems particularly qualified to credibly promise that he will not tempt us above that which we can bear (cf. D&C 64:20 and 1 Cor 10:13). Because Christ did not yield to temptation he is able to lead, guide, and protect us from falling into temptation if we will hearken to the words of Christ via the Spirit (cf. 2 Ne 32:3).
  • Alma 7:11: Pains and sicknesses of his people. In taking upon himself the pains and sicknesses of the people, Christ is exemplifying the covenant in Mosiah 18:8 and establishing a personal relationship with the people. The use of the possessive in the phrase "his people" also helps to establish this personal relationship (contrast this with Ex 17:4).
  • Alma 7:12. Christ suffered death to save us from bondage from Satan, and allow us to return to our Heavenly Home. Because of sin and mortality we could not return to our Father in Heaven, unless Christ came down on earth and gave his life as a ransom. Because Christ came down to Earth and suffered all these things, even death, we can break the bands of death both spiritually, from sin, and physically, from death of the body.
The word infirmity has always intrigued me because it is all encompassing. Infirmity covers a wide range of things mainly, “unhealthy state of body, weakness, feebleness, weakness of mind, failing, fault, foible,” and others (1828 Webster’s dictionary). The reason the Savior took upon Him our infirmities is so that he can know us individually and know our problems because he suffered the same things. He also did this so that he could know what we need to do to overcome all of our infirmities. This knowledge allows the Savior to succor or to deliver and relieve His people. The word succor is used because it means a fast response, not merely a response (1828 Webster’s Dictionary).
For me, this scripture brings an added measure of feeling loved by the Savior and His Father. The Savior and His Father are so willing to aid us that they will run to our support if we will only let them. The key to these passages is that although the Savior knows exactly what we need, to overcome anything in our lives, we still need to ask for the help. After asking we then must have the courage to move forward with faith and trust in the Savior.
  • Alma 7:13: Blot. The word blot means to “erase, to cause to be unseen, or forgotten,” by the Father and the Son. Because of the Atonement of Christ we can all return to our Father in Heaven in all His celestial glory. If we are willing to trust in the Savior and let Him be our light through tough times we will be saved at the last day.
I want to add my testimony to Alma’s that Jesus Christ did suffer afflictions, temptations, and all things so that we can live with Him and our Father in Heaven again. This is the main message of the Book of Mormon. The Book of Mormon is the word of God, Another Testament of the Savior Jesus Christ. Christ lives and we too can live if we have faith in him, repent of our sins, and come unto Christ through baptism and all of the other ordinances necessary to return to our Father in Heaven.
  • Alma 7:27: All that you possess. Perhaps many scriptures make a distinction between owning and just possessing (what is really the Lord’s.) Notice that Alma interjected the phrase "all that you possess" before it went on to add 'your women and your children' highlighting the different relationship we have to them.

Unanswered questions[edit]

This section is for questions along the lines of "I still don't understand ..." Please do not be shy. The point of these questions is to identify things that still need to be addressed on this page. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Prompts for life application[edit]

This section is for prompts that suggest ways in which a passage can influence a person's life. Prompts may be appropriate either for private self reflection or for a class discussion. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Prompts for further study[edit]

This section is for prompts that invite us to think about a passage more deeply or in a new way. These are not necessarily questions that beg for answers, but rather prompts along the lines of "Have you ever thought about ..." Prompts are most helpful when they are developed individually, thoughtfully, and with enough background information to clearly indicate a particular direction for further study or thought. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • Alma 7:3, 6: Gideonites. Are the Gideonites different than the people of Zarahemla, or is Alma’s hope that they are different vain?
  • Alma 7:7-12: Does Alma’s message to the Gideonites differ from his message to those of Zarahemla? Verse 12 teaches a doctrine that hidden from most of the rest of the world, that Christ suffered so that he will know how to succor his people? What does “succor” mean? How does Christ succor us?
  • Alma 7:14: Baptism and faith. This verse commands the Gideonites to be baptized not only that they be washed of their sins, but also that they may have faith in Christ. How does baptism make faith in Christ possible?
  • Alma 7:22: If the Gideonites were living righteously, why did they have to be awakened to a sense of their duty to God? As Alma uses the phrase here, what is “the holy order of God"? Is that different from “the order of the church” in Alma 8:1? Is he using the word “order” here in the same way he used it in Alma 5:49?
  • Alma 7:23: How does what Alma says here correlate with what he told those of Zarahemla in Alma 5:6, 13-15, 27-30, and 53-55? How does it correlate with Mosiah 4? What themes recur in each of these sermons about salvation?
  • Alma 7:24: Alma says “if you have faith, hope, and charity, then you will always do good works.” Do faith, hope, and charity guarantee good works? If so, how? Can we do good works without them? If not, why not?

Resources[edit]

This section is for listing links and print resources, including those that are also cited elsewhere on this page. A short comment about the particular strengths of a resource can be helpful. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

"When Jesus took upon Himself the heavy, atoning yoke in order to redeem all mankind by paying the agonizing price for our sins, He... also volunteered to take upon Himself additional agony in order that He might experience and thus know certain things 'according to the flesh,' namely human sicknesses and infirmities and human griefs, including those not associated with sin. Therefore, as a result of His great Atonement, Jesus was filled with unique empathy and with perfect mercy" (emphasis added).
  • D&C 19:16-20 gives additional insight to the depth of the atonement.

Notes[edit]

Footnotes are not required but are encouraged for factual assertions that average readers cannot easily evaluate for themselves (such as the date of King Solomon’s death or the nuanced definition of a Greek word). In contrast, insights rarely benefit from footnoting, and the focus of this page should always remain on the scriptures themselves rather than what someone has said about them. Links are actively encouraged on all sections of this page, and links to authoritative sources (such as Strong's Bible Concordance or the Joseph Smith Papers) are preferable to footnotes.



Previous page: Verses 5:33-62                      Next page: Chapters 8-16

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